Friday, April 18, 2014

Blackfish Waters: 6-day Orca Kayak Tour in Johnstone Strait:
Kayak with orcas in Johnstone Strait, the BEST place in the world to observe killer whales as they feed on salmon off northern Vancouver Island. This is the only itinerary to spend 6 days in the heart of the areas where orcas roam, optimizing your chances of special encounters with these magnificent whales. Enjoy full-height canvas tents with sleeping cots in this unique base-camp to base-camp tour. Ask us about our ORCA GUARANTEE! Click on the BLUE TABS below for more information.
Duration 6-days / 5-Nights
Length 6-day Itinerary
Intensity Beginner to Intermediate
Season July-September
Minimum Age 14
Begins In Port McNeill, British Columbia
Ends In Port McNeill, British Columbia
Airport Port Hardy, BC
Wildlife dolphins, humpbacks, porpoises, seals, eagles, ORCAS!


6 days/5 nights - Basecamp to Basecamp Tour

Johnstone Strait Photo Gallery
Click to view our Johnstone Strait Orca Kayak Tour Photo Gallery

If you long to kayak with orcas, you've come to the right place. This tour is the only one of its kind to spend a full 6 days in whale territory. While some people are content to simply watch whales, sea kayakers yearn to experience them. Maximize your orca experience in the breathtaking scenery of Vancouver Island's inside passage. Here in Johnstone Strait, summer home of the northern resident orcas, paddle whale-rich waters and explore the the marine wonders of their ecosystem.

If weather permits, you'll stay at three different base camps on three different islands on the heart of the orca loop. Full-height canvas tents with sleeping cots await you at each of these wilderness base camps, so you can enjoy the orcas without the hassle of making and breaking camp or hauling a tent. Part of your tour will be spent in Blackfish Sound, home of orcas and a high concentration of humpback whales! 

You will depart from Telegraph Cove in Port McNeill while our expert guides showcase the beauty and wildlife of the area. The whales may steal the show, but the Strait holds an entire ecosystem to explore. Peer at sea stars and anemones through crystal clear waters from your kayak, paddling glassy calm coastal inlets and channels in this sheltered wilderness. Learn about orcas from the guides' nature talks and the on-board library while friendly sea lions lounge on outcrops or take to the waves to get a closer look at you. Pass playful dolphins and curious porpoises, whose acrobatic water antics are mirrored by the aerial displays of eagles and sea birds. You will also observe First Nations pictographs, hike through forests filled with Old Growth Cedars, and learn about the aboriginal cultures that inhabited these lands. (If you would like to paddle the Broughton Archipelago, which is near Johnstone Strait but not a haven for orcas, head over to our Broughton tours.)

Green doesn’t mean lean! Camping with SKA means "getting away from it all," without "leaving it all behind." Our tours are fully-catered with gourmet meals prepared daily from scratch like our fresh salmon bake, and daily happy hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres. We provide all of the camping and kayaking gear, so you just need to bring your clothing! All tours include a hydrophone so that when you see orcas, you can listen to their vocalizations while watching them breach and play in the Strait. Sea Kayak Adventures proudly adheres to all Be Whale Wise regulations.

Why choose Sea Kayak Adventures?

Kayaking with Orcas - FAQ

Trip Highlights:
Guides lower hydrophones into the water so you can listen to the whales’ highly evolved language of staccato snaps, clicks and pops of echo location. Hear the whales as well as see them!

A video and DVD of this tour is available. Please call us for a copy.

Related Documents
"We enjoyed seeing the orcas as well as the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity in the area - I was very surprised by all of the intertidal life."
Bill and Annie Hopkins
Below you will find all available instances of this trip. Place cursor over View Dates to see available departures. Place cursor over the demographic icons to get a brief overview of the demographic group. To print all dates click here.
Title Intensity Departures Adult Youth For Whom?
2014 6-day Orca Kayak Tour Beginner to Intermediate View Dates $1,545 $1,390 Everybody
Getting There

This tour meets in the quaint town of Port McNeill, gateway to the killer whales. Port McNeill is located on northeastern Vancouver Island and is accessible by road or air. The closest airport is Port Hardy, about 40 minutes away, which receives regularly scheduled air service on Pacific Coastal Airlines. From the city of Vancouver on the mainland of British Columbia, Port McNeill is about a 7-hour drive (including a 2 hour ferry ride).

Click here for a detailed guide [.pdf download] about travel to Port McNeill for your Johnstone Strait tour to kayak with orcas.

Accommodations in Port McNeill: Haida-Way Motor Inn (800) 956-3373/(250) 956-3373. Let the Haida-Way know you are on a Sea Kayak Adventures tour. They have rooms blocked off for our guests, as they book up quickly in the summer. Your orientation meeting will commence here.

Extra things to do in the Port McNeill/Telegraph Cove area:  For extra days in the area, we recommend side trips to Alert Bay and the U'mista Cultural Center on Cormorant Island, or Sointula - both reached by short ferry ride from Port McNeill. Or an orca watching cruise with Mackay out of Port McNeill or Stubbs Island out of Telegraph Cove.

Related Documents
"We enjoyed seeing the orcas as well as the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity in the area - I was very surprised by all of the intertidal life."
Bill and Annie Hopkins

Please review our FAQ section for general questions and details about our BC kayak tours. See below for specific questions relating to this particular tour.

When is the best time to see whales?
The northern resident pods of orca (killer whales) currently number over 220 individually identified whales in 17 separate pods. They are generally found in Johnstone Strait when salmon, their primary prey, come from the ocean to spawn in the rivers of mainland British Columbia. The whales arrive after about the first week in July, and stay through late September. Our tours are scheduled only during the times when the whales have historically populated the area. Transient killer whales are found in the area beyond this narrow summer window, but are fewer in number and offer infrequent sightings. Humpback whales return from their breeding grounds in Hawaii early summer, and remain through the autumn. Though once hunted to extinction from the area, humpbacks have returned to the area as a tremendous success story, and are almost more common than orcas!

Is there a danger while kayaking near killer whales?
There are no recorded attacks on humans in history from wild orcas. To our knowledge a killer whale has never bumped a kayak or shown any aggression toward kayakers. All whales are acutely aware of their surroundings, and can use echolocation to track objects in their waters. From our many years in Johnstone Strait and hundreds of close encounters with killer whales, we feel very safe being in their presence. Most of the orcas we encounter are strictly salmon-eaters.

Read our Kayaking with Orcas FAQ here for further information.

Related Documents
"We enjoyed seeing the orcas as well as the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity in the area - I was very surprised by all of the intertidal life."
Bill and Annie Hopkins


(Looking for our 4-day Orca Kayak Basecamp?)

Orcas Spyhopping in Johnstone Strait near KayaksDay 0: Travel to Vancouver Island’s stunning northern coast to begin your orca kayak adventure. The town of Port McNeill, is a working waterfront fishing village just 30 minutes south of the Port Hardy airport. Many of our guests choose to stay at the Haida Way Motor Inn, where your guides will host the trip orientation meeting on the evening before your trip. You will have a chance to meet your fellow guests and acquire your drybags and wetsuit booties.

Day 1: Early in the morning, we provide transport from the Haida Way Motor Inn south to the launch site in charming Telegraph Cove, where your guides will provide a kayaking safety and orientation lesson. We launch from Telegraph Cove, paddling immediately out into the roadless, thickly forested, sheltered Johnstone Strait, in the heart of orca territory and home of the world's only orca preserve.  Weather permitting, you will kayak to our series of wilderness basecamps three different islands on this loop trip. Each of our base camps is equipped with pre-assembled, full-height canvas tents and sleeping cots. Enjoy happy hour including local wines and hors d’oeuvres while the guides prepare a special surprise for dinner. Recap the day's highlights over fresh baked dessert around a crackling campfire and gaze at the starlit sky or the glowing blue bioluminescence of the ocean before snuggling into your tent to sleep.

Breakfast on a Sea Kayak Adventures Orca Kayak Tour in Johnstone StraitDays 2-5: Awake to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and tea as the sun crests over rainforest boughs. Your guides will be wide awake and hard at work preparing a warm breakfast, but you can relax with a steaming mug of your favorite drink while wandering the beach for tidepools, reading a book, or watching a pod of passing orcas. You will kayak throughout orca territory in Johnstone Strait, and explore the adjacent channels and islands around Blackfish Sound where humpback whales may be spotted. Expect to kayak over four hours per day, broken up by lunch hour and floating rest breaks. You will paddle to Robson Bight Orca Preserve as well as to First Nations pictograph sites. Orcas can appear at any time on our tour. Killer whales can cover dozens of miles per day and often swim up, down, and around the strait hunting salmon or playing. You can also spot eagles, seals, porpoises or other marine mammals or seabirds at any time. Our guides use hydrophones when the orcas are in view so that you can thrill to the orcas vocalizing to each other underwater! Evenings and dinner will be spent relaxing in camp around a cozy campfire, toasting the day's adventures and listening to the guides spin tales and recount local legends. Orcas blowing offshore makes for a spectacular lullaby.

Day 6: After breakfast and breaking camp, you will spend the day kayaking to our take-out at Telegraph Cove, stopping for lunch along the way and a visit to the Telegraph Cove whale museum. A taxi will return your group to Port McNeill in the afternoon, after unpacking the kayaks. We recommend that you overnight in Port McNeill and join us for a no-host farewell dinner with your group.

Note on Itinerary: We will do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above and visit our base camps on three separate islands. However, the itinerary may change due to reasons beyond our control such as wind, waves or inclement weather.  Please Note: Although there is a very good chance we'll see Orcas throughout the week, the frequency and proximity of sightings will ultimately be determined by the Orcas' travel patterns. Our guides know the best places to see these magnificent creatures.

"At the end of each kayaking day, our group relaxed on the beached logs and sipped wine from cups while the guides cooked our gourmet meals".
-- Elle Andra-Warner, Johnstone Strait

Related Documents
"We enjoyed seeing the orcas as well as the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity in the area - I was very surprised by all of the intertidal life."
Bill and Annie Hopkins
Reserve a spot
Please complete the form below to send a request to reserve a spot for this trip. We will review your request and respond to you as soon as possible. Please add any additional notes or comments that we will need to know about your request. This could be anything from specific date requirements to special food allergy information.
Your Name: *
Your Email: *
Street Address:
Evening Phone:
How did you hear about us:
Trip Length: *
Desired Start Date calendar *
Number of Adults: *
Number of Youths (<17):
Contact Preference: *
Special Requests or Comments:
(Maximum Characters: 300)
You have Characters left.
Enter the security code above. Not case sensitive.
   Send a copy of this request to my email
Related Documents
"We enjoyed seeing the orcas as well as the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity in the area - I was very surprised by all of the intertidal life."
Bill and Annie Hopkins
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
Sea Kayak Adventures