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Baja Sweet 16!

by SKA
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Tuesday, 01 October 2013 Category Special Offers

Sea Kayak in Baja16 BIG Things Our Baja Sea Kayak Vacations Have To Offer:

  1. Day Trips: Have you booked your trip, but have a few days to spare in Baja? No worries! We have seasonal day trip options in Loreto & La Paz. Enjoy historic & scenic trips that INCLUDE a hotel night! 
  2. Incredible Local Guides: We have certified local guides that know the area and marine biologists that can answer all of your Sea of Cortez questions.  
  3. Contract Rate Hotel Rooms: Extra nights at one of our hotels are easy. We can provide you with extra hotel nights at our special rate to further extend your Baja vacation.
  4. Wildlife: You never know what will be around the next bend, and that's the exciting part. From exciting animals above the surface like whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, leaping fish, and flying mobula rays, to colorful reef fish, lobster, and invertebrates below the waves, anything can happen in Baja!
  5. Excellent Office Staff: Our office staff is ready to answer your questions in detail. While we may not be able to tell you exactly when a seal will appear in front of your kayak, we can certainly give you details on your exceptional vacation. From packing list specifications to the average Baja water temperature, we want you to be as prepared as possible.
  6. Options, Options, Options: We have a total of 15+ trip package options and endless possibilities to customize your trip. Can't decide? We can help match you to the vacation of your dreams that fits your schedule/family/budget.
  7. Wet Suit & Snorkel Gear Rental Options: If you're looking to pack light, we've certainly got you covered. For just $20 each per person, you're set for the whole trip.
  8. Happy Hour: What is better than happy hour in Baja? Happy hour on the beach in Baja.
  9. Gormet Meals: You may be camping, but our guides prepare meals that could've come directly from the hotel. Enjoy the wilderness, but eat like a King or Queen. 
  10. Detailed Itineraries: We have detailed itineraries that allow you to really get an insight into where you'll be headed on your Baja vacation, while still leaving you surprised with the wildlife that could unexpectedly swim by. From breakfast to happy hour, you'll be prepared. 
  11. Instruction: No matter what your experience, our guides assist you with everything from gear to technique. Vacations are supposed to be about having fun, and we are here to give you a comfortable training experience and a lot of encouragement. Novices are welcome!
  12. Specific Packing Lists: Speaking of prepared, we have specific packing lists as well. Check items off of the packing list to help ensure the up-most comfort during your trip, and leave you just a little more relaxed during your travel days. 
  13. Natural History Details: If you're looking to get really prepared for your trip, we even have details on the Natural History. Be prepared and get excited! 
  14. Early Bird Specials: If you're booking in advanced, be sure to ask about our early bird specials! Varying by the year, these specials can often get you this last years' rates, free rentals, or discounts on special trips.
  15. Some Trip Flexibility: Do you have food preferences, a favorite paddle, or a fussy husband? We can work with that.
  16. Shuttles: Though driving in Baja is simple, we make it easy to navigate! Many of our trips include airport transfers, and others are easily accessed by shuttle. All transport within the tour is included, so you can relax and enjoy the ride in comfortable, air-conditioned passenger vans.
Tags: kayak Baja, Sea of Cortez
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How We Make Packing Easy

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013 Category Special Offers

Packing on the beachWhen traveling with ROW Sea Kayak Adventures, we want your vacation to be as smooth as possible. This is why we've created an incredibly detailed packing list that allows you to check things off one by one to ensure that you'll truly feel prepared when heading off to your vacation destination.

We make packing fun! For each of our trips, we provide fun drawn diagrams of kayakers who are dressed for the location that you'll be kayaking in.From specific clothing material to minor often missed items, we'll remind you just how stress-free vacationing can be.

Another packing perk is knowing what you will be able to bring with you in the kayak and just how much you can fit into the dry bags that we provide to you. Not only will these details keep things simpler for your trip, but they will give you one less thing to worry about as your eyes search the water and land for the incredible amount of culture and wildlife surrounding you.

Tags: Packing, kayak in Baja
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Blackfish: A Documentary

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Thursday, 05 September 2013 Category Special Offers

Wild Orca in Johnstone StraitA 2013 Sundance Film Festival documentary has left many people, from all around the world, aching to visit the orcas of British Columbia. Blackfish, a film created after the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, sheds a new and powerful light on the life of a killer whale in captivity.

Written by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Eli Despres and Tim Zimmerman, Blackfish explores the life and psyche of Tilikum, an orca captured in 1983 and held captive at SeaWorld.

Although an extremely sad story describing our cruelty toward such a beautiful creature, Blackfish is completely changing the way humans look at whales in captivity, while also allowing people to make their own decision. Is it right to keep any animal in captivity for our entertainment?

We believe that these majestic creatures are best viewed in the wild - where they belong. Let us help you plan an incredible summer, 2014 trip to visit the orcas in their natural waters of Johnstone Strait, on the eastern coast of British Columbia. Learn about the culture and natural history of the area while eating spectacular food and exploring the remote wilderness surrounding you. Best of all, the non-invasive nature of a kayak and our committment to responsible whale watching means that you can glimpse the orcas without harming them.

Also, be sure to check out Blackfish, airing Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM ET on CNN. It is also playing in select theaters nationwide, and available on DVD.

Tags: Johnstone Strait, Blackfish, kayak with orcas
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Did you know? 30 Baja Facts

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013 Category Special Offers

LORETO

  1. Kayaking Loreto BayLoreto is the oldest modern settlement in Baja. It was the first place settled by Western civilization in all of California, and the Spanish used it as a base to expand into the rest of the Baja peninsula and into what is now the US state of California.
  2. Founded in 1697, the Mission of our Lady of Loreto still stands today.
  3. Loreto used to be the capital of Baja until a hurricane devastated the city in 1829.
  4. Baja's best snorkeling season is from June through November, when the waters are clearest. However, the cooler waters of December though April bring more nutrients, and thus attract the larger marine mammals.
  5. Loreto alone has 160 different species of algae, octopus, clams, snails and marine animals.
  6. Loreto has 5 islands located off it's coast. We visit two of them on our kayak tours, and have a snorkeling extension to the third.
  7. Just 9 miles from Loreto are large cave paintings dated back to more than 10,000 years ago. The meaning of the large cave paintings in Loreto are unknown. You can visit these cave paintings on our Baja Desert Culture & History day tour.
  8. The islands of Loreto Bay were designated a nature reserve and National Marine Park in 1996 by presidential decree. 2065 square km are protected, which hosts 72% of all marine mammal species in Mexico.
  9. In 2005, the National Marine Park joined the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Islands in the Sea of Cortez, and now are internationally protected. With over 800 species of marine life and 600 species of plant, many of which are endemic to the area, the Sea of Cortez hosts the greatest biodiversity in the UNESCO World Heritage Site register.
  10. The efforts to protect Loreto's natural resources were entirely citizen-driven, and it took 4 years of petitioning to enact protections on these stunning places. In our initial days of operation, we witnessed first-hand the destruction of the sea column by dredge netting prior to conservation efforts and the decimation of precious resource. Now, with over 20 years in the area, we have seen the return of whales, a steady increase in sea turtles, waters once again teeming with tropical fish, and the change of a culture toward environmental stewardship.


MAGDALENA BAY & GRAY WHALES

  1. "Magdalena Bay" is a general term for a series of lagoons on the Pacific side of Baja. Gray whale in Baja
  2. Magdalena Bay is just two hours drive from the international airport of Loreto.
  3. It is one of three lagoons in which gray whales calve in Baja, but by far the easiest to access without sacrificing the quality of whale encounter. 
  4. The Gray Whales have the largest migration of any mammal, and may travel up to 10,000 mi in a single year. They swim from the Arctic Circle down to Baja's warm waters to mate and give birth.
  5. Though most well-known for gray whales, Magdalena Bay is also a destination for sport and commercial fishing.
  6. Magdalena Bay is under strict federal protection. Whale watching and fishing are both highly regulated to best preserve this area.
  7. The only way to view the gray whales is by the federally-licensed skiffs. No kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming is allowed, which is just as well because the whales are not interested in or comfortable with such activities.
  8. Much of the lagoons that make up Magdalena Bay are lined with Mangroves, which makes this estuary environment an extremely valuable fish nursery and bird habitat.  
  9. The rich feeding grounds of the bay also tempt dolphins and sea lions to fish in these calm waters. The dolphins even try to eat the milk from the nursing gray whales as a high-fat dietary supplement.
  10. In our permitted whale camp site, right where the lagoon meets the sea, whales congregate in the deeper waters to teach their calves about currents. When the calves can swim out past the current into the Pacific ocean, they are ready to journey home to the Arctic. Best of all, we can view whales right from the sandy shores of our camp - a feature unique to ROW SKA!

LA PAZWhale Shark in La Paz

  1. La Paz means "Peace" in Spanish. It is the capital of Baja California Sur.
  2. La Paz was settled in 1720, abandoned in the 1750s, and permanently settled in 1811. There were a smattering of settlements in these years so brief that they barely make record. Resistance from the native population, epidemics, and piracy all contributed to these short-lived attempts.
  3. La Paz was originally valued due to the world-famous pearls from the Bay of La Paz. The Queen of England supposedly has pearls from La Paz in her crown. However, in the 1930's, the oyster populations were ruined by disease.
  4. La Paz industries post-pearl harvesting include silver mining, agriculture, fishing and now tourism.
  5. Local La Paz fisherman were hired by tourists in the 1990's to watch and photograph the whales instead of hunting them, which initially started the Baja whale watching movement in the Sea of Cortez.
  6. The desert island of Espiritu Santo, just off the coast of La Paz, is 23,800 acres. It is uninhabited, and recently became a National Park. This is the island around which we kayak!
  7. Los Islotes, a small group of islands off the northern tip of Espiritu Santo, is home to a colony of friendly sea lions. You can snorkel with these playful pups, who are well-accustomed to human visitors.
  8. Fishing is excellent in the waters off-shore of La Paz, but catch and release is encouraged. Fishing is not allowed on Espiritu Santo. Instead, consider snorkeling with these colorful reef creatures!
  9. Juvenile whale sharks winter in the nutrient-rich waters in the Bay of La Paz to feed on the plankton of this area. Though federally regulated, you can snorkel with these remarkable animals!
  10. Malecon Road, La Paz' boardwalk, is a focal point for tourists due to its plethora of stores, bars and restaurants. At over 6 km long, the malecon offers an incredible ocean view and a great place for a stroll.
Tags: gray whales, Magdalena Bay, La Paz, Loreto, kayak in Baja, Baja
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The Secret Escape Vacation: Johnstone Strait & Surrounding Islands

by SKA
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Thursday, 01 August 2013 Category Special Offers

Glassy Calm WatersOften times, we don’t see it coming; the once-in-a-life-time experience that will change the way we look at life forever. Even as we plan our next vacation, as set in stone as the itinerary may or may not be, we have no idea what might come of this vacation or what amazing places it may lead us to next.

This year, I was given the opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime; a multi-day kayaking tour with orca & humpback whale watching in British Columbia’s Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. As a means of getting to know my new job, this trip not only taught me what I needed to know to help other guests, but it taught me about value. Value not just in price, but it taught me about value in quality.

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Which kayak tour in Canada is right for me?

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Monday, 04 February 2013 Category Special Offers

Orca bull on Canada kayak tourAre you looking for a trip to the stunning coastline of Vancouver Island this summer, but not quite sure where to start? This handy guide will help you learn about the differences in our tours so that you can make the best choice for your vacation. All tours are fully guided, fully catered, and fully supplied, so you need just bring your clothing! If you have any questions or need help deciding, we’re standing by with expert advice at 208-765-3116.

Tags: kayak with whales, kayak with orcas, Canada sea kayak, God's Pocket Resort
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Differences between kayaking in Loreto and La Paz

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Thursday, 10 January 2013 Category Special Offers

Snorkeling with sea lions in La PazWe recently unveiled our brand new sea kayak destination of Espiritu Santo off Baja's grand capital city of La Paz. This splendid island complements our classic itineraries out of Loreto, adding new adventures for our repeat guests and easier access through the major international airport of San Jose del Cabo. However, travelers new to SKA find themselves with an important decision: which destination should they pick, Loreto or La Paz?

Tags: kayak Baja, Loreto, La Paz, Espiritu Santo, Snorkel with sea lions
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Patagonia Report

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Monday, 17 December 2012 Category Special Offers

Our 2012 Patagonia "Sea to Mountains" trip just finished. It was a wonderful trip at the PERFECT time of year! Tons of southern right whales frolicked right off the beach from their tents at the private exclusive beach basecamp and up close with the kayaks, penguin & elephant seal colonies, guanacos & rheas galore on Peninsula Valdes. Hiking in the Fitzroy Mountain was fantastic as well. Early Dec each year is a perfect window of time for whales and weather. We have limited spaces left on our Dec 2-15, 2013 tour. Will you join us?

Penguins in Patagonia

Patagonia whale off kayak bow

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Unveiling Espiritu Santo: The Pearl of La Paz

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Wednesday, 03 October 2012 Category Special Offers

Kayaking in Baja’s Kayaking in Baja on Espiritu SantoSea of Cortez is a sun and sand adventure that draws thousands to this premiere paddling destination each year. While Sea Kayak Adventures has proudly offered Baja sea kayak tours from the town of Loreto for the past 20 years, we are excited for our 20th anniversary to announce a brand new line of trips out of Baja’s capital city of La Paz.

La Paz was once famed for its illustrious pearl trade. The Bay of La Paz held an oceanic treasure chest of these precious gems for hundreds of years, drawing settlers and pirates to the tropic clime. Now a tranquil seaside port, La Paz's new fortune lies in its wealth of maritime adventure. The pearl of these riches unfurls on the city's northern horizon as the majestic isle of Espiritu Santo. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Combined with breathtaking geology and luminescent aqua seas, Espiritu Santo is a tantalizing sea kayaking and snorkeling destination.

We are honored to receive the very last exclusive government operating permit that will ever be distributed for this exquisite island. We invite you to join us in La Paz this November through May, and experience first-hand the marine wonders that once attracted generations of settlers and seafarers, and now eco-tourists.

Tags: Espiritu Santo, La Paz, Snorkel with sea lions, Magdalena Bay, gray whales
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Season Finale for our Orca Kayak Tours

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012 Category Special Offers

Those who journeyed to Johnstone Strait to kayak with orcas this summer were in luck. We had a spectacular year in the Strait and ended our BC Canada season with a bang! Sold out trips and fantastic orca whale encounters and sightings became the standard for every trip. All of August 2012, was world class, with great weather and whales. Terry and Nancy enjoyed end of season debriefing with our guides, remembering all the good times this past summer, visiting all our friends and the owners of God's Pocket Resort in the Port Hardy and Port McNeill area one last time before starting on the road south with our kayaks toward Idaho, and ultimately across the border for our Baja kayak tours.

Orca & Kayak in Johnstone Strait by Janice Ryan

Janice Ryan took this spectacular photo of orcas seen as they were passing just a few short meters off our kayak bows as we were gathered up in the kelp! That moment was repeated many times this summer. Summer 2012 also saw humpback whales in record numbers - every single trip on the water saw these majestic baleen whales. Their recovery from extinction in this area is practically a fairytale.

Join us next year in Johnstone Strait if you missed out on this year's orca kayak trips! We are already taking reservations for all of our BC kayak tours for 2013, and are unveiling some exciting improvements to our Canada kayak tours. Stay tuned for details! If a sand and sunshine is more your style, there's still time to reserve your spot on our Baja kayak tours in Loreto and our NEW location in La Paz.

Thanks for a great summer season sea kayaking in British Columbia with orcas and humpbacks!   We look forward to paddling there in 2013!

Tags: humpback whales, kayak with orcas, kayak with whales
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Kayaking with Orcas - 6-day Expedition Trip Report 29 July

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Tuesday, 07 August 2012 Category Special Offers

Johnstone Strait holds more than kayaking with orcas! Our July 29 6-day expedition tour was a banner week on northern Vancouver Island, BC Canada with perfect weather, abundant wildlife, and fantastic guides. Misty mornings melted into brilliant sunshine on glassy-calm waters, with only one rainy night on this temperate rainforest coast. Fleeces were exchanged for short sleeves and sunscreen, and one guest even went for a swim! The lack of wind allowed for extensive paddling opportunities and crystal clear waters.

Sea Kayaking with orcas in Johnstone StraitWithin the first hour of paddling, a trio of Dall’s Porpoises (including a very small calf!) delighted our guests, and were spotted fishing just beyond the kelp nearly every day thereafter. Pink salmon leaped continuously and attracted sly harbour seals and gregarious sea lions, as well as a chorus of bald eagles. Rhinocerous auklets and red-necked phalaropes feasted below gulls, and were occasionally interrupted by the great whooshing breath of humpback whales. The group saw numerous humpbacks both from sea kayak and shore, including tail fluking and pectoral fin slaps, a close encounter just 20 meters from their beach-side lunch, and feeding humpbacks visible from camp.

Even on land, the wildlife flourished. The group witnessed a small black bear swimming between islands, a mink exploring the seaside brush, black-tailed deer, and a pair of cheeky squirrels racing through camp. Kingfishers swooped from low-hanging branches to snatch up small fish. Between land and sea, the intertidal zone held fascinating anemones, sea stars, sea cucumbers, limpits and barnacles, and large purple urchins, for all of which the guides recited natural history and facts.

Kayaking with Orcas - A30sHowever, the primary draw for Johnstone Strait, the Northern Resident Orcas, did not disappoint. The group witnessed orcas from a distance almost every day, but was also graced with several closer encounters. Next to Robson Bight, the world’s only orca preserve, a pod breezed by the kelp line just as we started launching our kayaks. Our very surprised guests backed off of the line of travel but were treated to a very close encounter! The preserve wardens took the time to visit the group and congratulate their proper orca conduct. Orcas also swam by one of the group’s campsites twice, offering great chances for photos and videos. However, the greatest showing of all occurred on day 4, when the group crossed through Blackney pass and encountered an orca pod swimming the other direction. The guides maneuvered the kayakers safely into the kelp line, with a perfect view of the orcas who stopped to play in the opposing current for over 45 minutes! The guides called on the radio for identification, and the group learned that they were viewing the A30’s: a 3-generation pod with a 65 year old matriarch named Tsitika. The pod even hosted a VERY special treat: a brand new calf, born to A75 just days before on 24 July, and still tinged with yellow.

Despite these breathtaking encounters, guests report that their favorite part of the trip was undoubtedly the tireless, cheerful efforts of their guides Leah and Dustin. Sea kayak guides go far beyond merely reading currents and wind charts: they are naturalists, chefs, instructors, educators, communicators, hand-holders, and leaders, and the heart of the trip. Bravo for a fantastic job well done and a stellar week in Johnstone Strait!


Johnstone Strait holds more than kayaking with orcas! Our July 29 6-day expedition tour was a banner week on northern Vancouver Island, BC Canada with perfect weather, abundant wildlife, and fantastic guides. Misty mornings melted into brilliant sunshine on glassy-calm waters, with only one rainy night on this temperate rainforest coast. Fleeces were exchanged for short sleeves and sunscreen, and one guest even went for a swim! The lack of wind allowed for extensive paddling opportunities and crystal clear waters.

Within the first hour of paddling, a trio of Dall’s Porpoises (including a very small calf!) delighted our guests, and were spotted fishing just beyond the kelp nearly every day thereafter. Pink salmon leaped continuously and attracted sly harbour seals and gregarious sea lions, as well as a chorus of bald eagles. Rhinocerous auklets and red-necked phalaropes feasted below gulls, and were occasionally interrupted by the great whooshing breath of humpback whales. The group saw numerous humpbacks both from sea kayak and shore, including tail fluking and pectoral fin slaps, a close encounter just 20 meters from their beach-side lunch, and feeding humpbacks visible from camp.

Even on land, the wildlife flourished. The group witnessed a small black bear swimming between islands, a mink exploring the seaside brush, black-tailed deer, and a pair of cheeky squirrels racing through camp. Kingfishers swooped from low-hanging branches to snatch up small fish. Between land and sea, the intertidal zone held fascinating anemones, sea stars, sea cucumbers, limpits and barnacles, and large purple urchins, for all of which the guides recited natural history and facts. 

However, the primary draw for Johnstone Strait, the Northern Resident Orcas, did not disappoint. The group witnessed orcas from a distance almost every day, but was also graced with several closer encounters. Next to Robson Bight, the world’s only orca preserve, a pod breezed by the kelp line just as we started launching our kayaks. Our very surprised guests backed off of the line of travel but were treated to a very close encounter! The preserve wardens took the time to visit the group and congratulate their proper orca conduct. Orcas also swam by one of the group’s campsites twice, offering great chances for photos and videos. However, the greatest showing of all occurred on day 4, when the group crossed through Blackney pass and encountered an orca pod swimming the other direction. The guides maneuvered the kayakers safely into the kelp line, with a perfect view of the orcas who stopped to play in the opposing current for over 45 minutes! The guides called on the radio for identification, and the group learned that they were viewing the A30’s: a 3-generation pod with a 65 year old matriarch named Tsitika. The pod even hosted a VERY special treat: a brand new calf, born to A75 just days before on 24 July, and still tinged with yellow.

Despite these breathtaking encounters, guests report that their favorite part of the trip was undoubtedly the tireless, cheerful efforts of their guides Leah and Dustin. Sea kayak guides go far beyond merely reading currents and wind charts: they are naturalists, chefs, instructors, educators, communicators, hand-holders, and leaders, and the heart of the trip. Bravo for a fantastic job well done and a stellar week in Johnstone Strait!
Tags: kayak with orcas, kayak with whales, humpback whales, rhinocerous auklet, guides, Dall's porpoises, trip report, Johnstone Strait
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God's Pocket lodge based kayak season in BC ended with a memorable yoga trip!

by Terry
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Wednesday, 01 August 2012 Category Special Offers

Nancy Mertz, one of the founders of Sea Kayak Adventures, just back from the last God's Pocket Resort lodge-based trip of the season, reports:

Jen in a yoga poseIt was a glorious week with great weather, daily sightings of frolicking humpback whales and soaring bald eagles, two restorative yoga sessions daily on the sun deck and lots of laughter and fun!  Thanks to Bill & Annie, our wonderful hosts at God's Pocket Resort and Jenifer Harbour, our amazing yoga teacher, for a week we'll never forget!  (Incidentally Jen will be leading yoga on our 31 March and 7 April 2013 Baja tours - if interested book by 1 Sept 2012, as they will fill up fast!)

This fabulous trip in BC capped off a run of 3 sold-out lodge-based sea kayak trips in BC in July 2012, as it turns out kayaking daily from the comforts of a cozy lodge is wildly popular!    So popular in fact, that we are now taking bookings for June and July 2013 - $100 off the current 2012 price if booked by 1 October 2012!   Look for a future yoga God's Pocket trip as well, as the yoga before and after kayaking was a perfect complement to keep us loose and ready for the day's paddling.   This yoga trip was so popular we had to turn away people who tried to book the month before the trip, so we do recommend booking early.   The lodge only has 7 rooms, and we have exclusive use of the lodge each June and July when our kayak groups are there.   The lodge is only reachable by boat or seaplane.

God's Pocket Resort is the only lodge permitted inside God's Pocket Provincial Park, a pristine island archipelago and world famous cold water SCUBA dive site, just offshore of Port Hardy, the main hub of northern Vancouver Island, in lovely British Columbia, Canada.   The prolific underwater life attracts all manner of marine mammals, including the humpback whales, Stellar's sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoise that we saw this week, and the sea otter we saw last week there.   Other mammals we saw this week included a mink and several deer on the seaweed covered shore.

We were a widely divergent group who bonded quickly over the 40 min boat ride 23 July 2012 to the lodge aboard the lodge boat "The Hurst Isle" captained by Bill Weeks, and after settling our luggage into our cozy rooms, the warm up hike to nearby Duck Bay.    After a wonderful lunch we had a paddle talk on the sundeck by our capable guides, Sarah and Renee, then off for our first introductory paddle along the shores of Hurst Island.   Yoga then happy hour on the sundeck, followed by a sumptuous feast whipped up with loving detail by lodge co-owner Annie and a nature video of the underwater sea life of God's Pocket Provincial Park, made us all feel we had done 2 days worth of activity all in our first day!

Sleeping at God's Pocket is literally like sleeping in the cradle of heaven - the lovely silence perhaps punctuated by a whale's blow in the channel, the brilliant stars, the bioluminescence, the soft but firm beds with flannel sheets and comforters reminiscent of childhood.   Each night we'd sleep soundly knowing that morning brought steaming coffee and tea at 6:45 am followed by yoga at 7 am, then a hearty breakfast before we set off paddling for the day with a gourmet packed lunch and our experienced sea kayak guides.  

Joyce and SarahEach day's paddle brought sightings of humpback whales and the dramatic sound of their blows - the last day of paddling they were just meters away at one point!    We were thrilled to know from the lodge owners that the whales are returning in numbers not seen for decades.   We circumnavigated Hurst and Bell Islands one day and Balaclava Island another day, and paddled to a manned lighthouse for a tour another day, with visits to First Nations midden sites, a fish farm and unique intertidal areas along the way while guides gave talks on bull kelp and wildlife.  We learned there are several hikes on Hurst Island as well, one can do right from God's Pocket Resort.

Each afternoon our bodies unwound with the relaxing yoga on the sundeck after the day spent kayaking, then we talked over the day's adventures and observations over happy hour and dinner before collapsing in bed by 10 each night.   What a lovely way to spend a week - a dream vacation!    

We look forward to sharing this truly unique paradise with you June and July 2013!   Here's to many more adventures!

Tags: yoga, humpback whales, kayak with whales, trip report, God's Pocket Resort
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A slice of heaven at God's Pocket Resort - July 9-14, 2012 Sea Kayak Tour

by SKA
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Monday, 16 July 2012 Category Special Offers

Beach in God's Pocket Provincial Park on kayak tourSea Kayak Adventures dearly enjoys our tours at God's Pocket Wilderness Resort, a small lodge that was grandfathered-in during the establishment of God's Pocket Provincial Park. It is the only lodge on these secluded islands. Friendly owners Bill and Annie are our hosts during these kayak tours, and they always add a very special touch. Our first lodge-based trip of the year launched July 9, and happy guests relaxed for 6 days while enjoying world-class sea kayaking, hiking, and wildlife sightings. Our guides returned with glowing reports of wildlife and weather.

Dustin Chappell, one of our senior kayak guides, writes:

"It was a great week at God's Pocket with guides dressing up for Theme Nights such as Formal, Pirate Day, Fairies and Asian night. The wildlife didn't dissapoint either with appearances by a mother and calf humpback whale, a sea otter, and a friendly seal who even kissed our kayaks to welcome us back to this amazing area. The guests and guides enjoyed paddling, hiking and even some relaxing time in the sun. Annie and Bill were such amazing hosts that none of us wanted to leave this incredible place."

The rest of our God's Pocket trips are sold out for 2012, but we are already taking reservations for 2013! Here are a few more photos from the July 9-14 trip:

Hiking at God's Pocket on kayak tour

What a view!

Pirates at God's Pocket

Har! Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

More Pirates at God's Pocket

Avast, ye scurvy dog!

Sea otter at God's Pocket on kayak tour in BC, Canada

Look at this wonderful sea otter at God's Pocket! Sea otters are slowly coming back to the area, after being hunted nearly to extinction for their fine pelts.

Seal at God's Pocket

Seals make for fine sea kayaking companions! This one kissed Dustin's kayak.

Leah Blok in formal wear

Heartbreaker and sea kayak guide extraordinaire - Leah Blok in formal wear!


Tags: trip report, God's Pocket Resort, sea otters, seals, kayak with whales
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When 'sustainable-tourism' isnt.

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Monday, 25 June 2012 Category Special Offers

Old growth forest hike on BC Kayak TourThe New York Times recently published an article about the trend in travel companies to use buzzwords like 'eco-friendly,' 'sustainable travel,' and 'green' to attract business, while their operations are anything but! The article recommends thoroughly investigating potential companies and all activities, for what may seem green might actually harm local populations and wildlife. Tourism can bring in much needed money, preservation, and awareness for special places, but when handled improperly, can destroy that which it claims to protect.

The NYT article states, "The best sustainable tourism businesses not only recycle, conserve water and energy, and use locally produced goods, they also hire local employees, support community projects and preserve cultural heritage." We would like to use this blog and explain how, at Sea Kayak Adventures, we are doing just that.

Tags: Going Green, Eco Alianza, Adopt A Fry, Save Our Salmon, Grupo Tortuguero, guides, eco-friendly, eco-tourism, conservation
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2012 Canadian Kayak Tour Guide Lineup

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012 Category Special Offers

When kayaking with orcas, you not only want THE best place and time to see orcas (Johnstone Strait in northern Vancouver Island, BC Canada June-Sept) you want the best guides in the business who can fully bring out the magic of the area as well keep you well taken care of.  We are honored to introduce our wonderful guides in BC Canada, who we truly feel are among THE best guides in the industry!

Tags: guide spotlight, guides, Johnstone Strait, kayak BC, British Columbia
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First Nations & Johnstone Strait Orcas

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Thursday, 07 June 2012 Category Special Offers

Kayaking with orcas in the sheltered waters of Johnstone Strait  is one of the planet’s most rare and wonderful privileges. Hosting guests in these magic waters is an honor Sea Kayak Adventures founders Nancy and Terry take very seriously. They have been fortunate to hear some of the oral traditions as recalled by First Nations elders in the area and foster the utmost appreciation for this priceless cultural heritage.

First Nations Historic SiteThe First Nations bands of the area hold close ties to land and sea; orcas and other marine animals are featured in their stories with great prominence. Sea Kayak Adventures holds heartfelt respect for this longstanding relationship, and we urge all travelers to respectfully learn about the history of all sites you visit. On our BC kayak tours, our skilled guides will help show you historic cultural sites such as kitchen middens and cedar bark stripping left from generations of First Nations peoples, so as to offer greater awareness for the land and cultures that existed eons before we pushed off with our kayaks.

We also encourage all guests to gain a more thorough appreciation for the native Kwakwaka'wakw by staying an extra day in Port McNeill and visiting the U’mista Cultural Society at Alert Bay on Coromorant Island. Alert Bay is a 45 minute ferry ride (pedestrian friendly) from Port McNeill, BC, where our Johnstone Strait guests will stay for their kayak tours. We highly recommend scheduling an additional time before or after your trip to visit the town and both museums in the area. The U’musta Cultural Society has a wide collection of masks and ceremonial artifacts that were repatriated to the local First Nations band in the early 1970's. These priceless relics were confiscated by the government after banning the Potlatch celebrations intrinsic to the native culture. The “Potlatch Collection” is on display for visitors, and the center holds a gift shop with authentic Kwakwaka'wakw art and souvenirs.

Tags: First Nations, Alert Bay, U'mista
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Orca Kayak Tours in Johnstone Strait: Highlights

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 Category Special Offers

In our last blog entry, we compared the 6-day and the 4-day orca kayak tours in Johnstone Strait to better understand the differences between the tours. As a followup entry, here is a rundown of the wonderful features of BOTH tours!

Highlights of Johnstone Strait tours:

  • Robson BightWe paddle to the western boundary of Robson Bight Orca Preserve. The preserve is a natural area set aside specifically for these "northern resident orcas" - a unique subspecies of fish-eating orca found nowhere else on earth. In fact it is the only orca preserve in the world! No one is allowed to paddle inside Robson Bight, but it is a fascinating landmark. The orcas travel all along the Johnstone Strait coastline, both in and out of the reserve.
  • Camping along orca waters with a chance 24-hours-a-day to see, hear and understand orcas and the rest of their marine environment. Hydrophones will be present so that you can listen to the underwater vocalizations of the orcas. Enjoy the evolved language of staccato snaps, clicks and pops of echo location from these intelligent mammals.
  • Skillful guides provide the boats, gear, experience and instruction. Let us do the work of reading complicated tide and current charts and monitoring weather radios, so you can relax and enjoy the location. Sea Kayak Adventures supplies everything except your clothes! Enjoy roomy dome tents, top notch, hand-crafted Seaward kayaks, and sleeping bags with liners and pads. Wetsuit booties, chairs at camp and a library are also provided.
  • Learn kayaking skills and how to leave no trace of your visit. We operate on strict “leave-no-trace” ethics – and have a wonderful time doing it! The guides are excellent chefs who will cook all of the meals and show you the ropes of eco-friendly camping. Guides will set out happy hour after the day’s paddle, and then prepare the first of many scrumptious meals in a dutch oven.
  • Paddling through this marine paradise is a wonderful adventure even without whales. Though we see orcas on over 98% of our tours, Dall’s porpoises, seals and sea lions often join us as well. Oyster catchers, marbled murrelets, and rhinoceros auklets are readily seen, and bald eagles dot the trees. Keep a sharp eye out for deer or black bear foraging near the beaches as we drift past.
  • Camping and kayaking in orca territoryVenture out on foot to explore beaches, tide pools and the rain forest. The tidal exchange reveals a variety of fascinating invertebrates as well as oceanic flora and fauna. 
  • Driftwood campfires brighten the evening conversation. The guides often lead evening fireside stories of Indian legends or orca science.
  • Unlike the San Juans in the summer, the beaches often are empty, the tourist-toting ferries are preempted by the occasional fishing boat, and you will be paddling along a roadless, uninhabited forested coastline. Visit Telegraph Cove to wander the docks, whale museum and shops.
Tags: kayak with orcas, Robson Bight, camping
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Orca Kayak Tour: 4- or 6-day Trip?

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 Category Special Offers

Kayaking with orcas in Johnstone StraitKayaking with orcas in Johnstone Strait allows for once-in-a-lifetime orca encounters every week from early July through mid-September (depending on salmon runs). Nature-lovers of all backgrounds venture to Vancouver Island’s inside passage, where over 220 salmon-eating orcas follow bountiful summer salmon runs through this narrow channel. The geography of the Strait ensures generally calm waters, which make for a paddlers paradise.

Sea Kayak Adventures offers two different itineraries on our Johnstone Strait orca kayak tours. Our classic, 6-day Orca Waters Expedition tour loops through killer whale territory in the Strait and up through the islands around Blackfish Sound. The 4-day Orca Base Camp kayak tour is held at our exclusive beach campsite, a short paddle from Robson Bight, the world’s only killer whale preserve. Both tours are suitable for novices in good health, as we paddle about 4 hours per day, broken up by lunch hour, on each tour.

How do you choose which tour is right for you?

Tags: kayak with orcas, kayak with whales, humpback whales, Johnstone Strait, Robson Bight
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Sea Kayaking with Whales = Best Whale Watching for Nature Lovers

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Wednesday, 16 May 2012 Category Special Offers

Kayaking with whales Kayaking with orcas in Johnstone Straitsounds like an adrenalin-high adventure, akin to cliff diving or whitewater rapids sought by robust 20 year old thrill-seekers. Consequently, many of our guests are surprised to find our tours are suitable for novices of any age or even those with no kayak experience at all. Sea kayaking is a versatile sport that allows for wonderful wilderness adventures at any level. Experienced paddlers may choose open-ocean or rapids, but Sea Kayak Adventures specializes in bringing nature-lovers closer to wildlife, seeking calm waters. Co-owners Terry and Nancy dedicated their lives to finding the best places to whale watch that also host calm, sheltered paddling conditions. Many of our guests have little or no kayak experience, but seek the opportunity to see whales up close.

Sea kayaks allow for complete immersion in nature. There is no glass between you and the outdoors, and no motors to scare away animals. The gentle paddling of a kayak is largely non-invasive to wildlife. Flocks of birds that would take wing at a human on foot or a motorboat do not flee the sight of a kayak, allowing closer encounters. Pinnipeds like sea lions and seals find the kayaks a curiosity, and will even approach for a closer look. And while we proudly adhere to all Be Whale Wise regulations, a raft of kayaks tucked respectfully into the kelp bed may have extraordinary views of a passing pod of orcas as they make their way along the coastline. In Baja, dolphins often pass near or through our kayaks, and great blue and fin whale spouts may alert their presence.  In Patagonia, we float in our kayaks near gently breathing mom and baby southern right whales on a warm hiatus away from the cold of Antarctica.  Whale watching has never been so intimate!

Sea Kayaking in shallow watersShallow-bottomed kayaks, which can float in just a foot of water, allow exploration of inlets and channels that host tidal life wonders and beaches inaccessible from boat. Akin to backpacking on the ocean, kayaks allow for expedition style tours – without leaving behind all of the creature comforts. The hatches of the kayaks allow for carrying a full set of camping equipment, cooking tools, and fresh food. Because of this space, your wilderness adventure won’t be sustained by jerky or trail mix. Instead, enjoy freshly prepared meals like lasagna or a salmon-bake, along with fresh salads daily!  We even bake cakes in dutch ovens on our tours!  And because these are guided tours, you can enjoy your wildlife vacation while letting our fantastic guides show off their culinary skills and do all of the cooking.

Join us to kayak with whales and experience in person – and at eye level – these ocean wonders in their natural environment. 

Tags: whale watching, kayak vacation, kayak with orcas, kayak with whales
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New & Expanded Flights to Loreto!

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012 Category Special Offers

Loreto Malecon for Baja Kayak ToursBaja kayakers are fortunate to have direct flights to the town of Loreto, the gem off of Baja’s East coast on the Sea of Cortez. The Islands of Loreto Bay are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Marine Park, and offer endless picturesque coastline for kayaking, camping, hiking and snorkeling. In past years, flights were limited to a single carrier just 4 days a week, but as the beauty of Loreto entices greater numbers of travelers, a new airline is expanding coverage to this sunny destination. Cal Jet Air will fly from LAX to Loreto each Saturday. With set and seemingly reasonable prices for this flight, Cal Jet Air has opened up many possibilities for would-be kayakers who may have been put-off by high prices on peak dates.

Alaska Air has also increased their service to offer Saturday flights to Loreto as well, making this seaside kayak paradise even more accessible.

Sea Kayak Adventures now offers new dates for our Holiday Kayak Tours to coincide with the Saturday flights:

  • December 22-29, 2012 - 8-day Motorboat Supported Tour $1345/person
  • December 29-Jan 5, 2013 - 8-day Motorboat Supported Tour $1345/person

BOOK NOW to reserve these low rates on airfare and to secure your Early Bird Special on our Baja kayak tours!

Tags: travel to Loreto, Loreto, flight schedules, Alaska Air, Cal Jet Air
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"Since this was my first trip of this kind, I really didn't know exactly what to expect. However, the whole experience was just great…the people, the first-rate equipment, the area & nature, the guid..."
Arlene Perry
Sea Kayak Adventures