Paddle in search of orcas and humpbacks off Vancouver Island’s beautiful north-east coast, exploring the renowned Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound from a remote island base camp.
- Kayak with whales through the sounds and inlets off Vancouver Island
- Spot seabirds, bald eagles and seals along the way
- Immerse yourself in the Canadian wilderness with a comfortable stay at Orca Waters Base Camp
Departing from Port McNeill on Vancouver Island's east coast, you will join a unique 3-night wilderness adventure, camping on a small island covered in ancient rainforest, surrounded by wildlife-rich waters. Enjoy a variety of kayaking routes, often frequented by orcas and humpback whales. Whales regularly pass by the camp, often while you are enjoying the morning’s first cup of French-pressed organic coffee or a dinner of locally caught salmon around the campfire.
The nearby waters are home to harbour seals, porpoises, minke whales, and rich intertidal life. A number of bald eagle nests and a Steller sea lion haul out are all within easily paddling distance of camp and it is not uncommon to see humpback whales lunging through schools of small fish as they fatten up for their migration south.
Spend these days paddling through serene coastal waters. Your kayak guides plan each day according to weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and guest interests. Lunches are usually spent on a secluded beach and you’ll return late each afternoon to the comforts of the Orca Waters Base Camp.
Itinerary & Accommodation
- Day 1: Port McNeill - Orca Waters Base Camp
- Take a short walk to the Port McNeill marina early this morning to board the water taxi to your island camp. All your bags will be transported by van. Vehicles and extra luggage can be left at your hotel while you are on your kayak tour. Upon arrival at the Base Camp your guides provide a site orientation, plus a kayak and safety briefing. You’ll kayak for a short time before lunch, giving you time to get used to the kayaks, the wilderness setting, and each other. The afternoon is spent kayaking and viewing the areas diverse wildlife. Lunch and dinner included.
- Days 2-3: Kayaking with Whales
- Ideally situated for exploring the area, the Base Camp is located on orca whale travel routes and humpback whales often feed within sight of the camp. The islands and small islets close to the camp are home to numerous sea birds, bald eagles, and seals. There is always plenty to see. When encountering orca whales on the water, your guide may drop a hydrophone into the water so you can listen to their vocalisations. Your kayak guides plan each day according to weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and guest interests. Lunches are usually spent on a secluded beach, returning late each afternoon to the comforts of the Orca Waters Base Camp. Every day is different, but rest assured, you’ll have plenty of time for exploring, kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing and enjoying the scenery. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
- Day 4: Orca Waters Base Camp - Port McNeill
- On the last day, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out for one last kayak paddle. Returning to camp for a late lunch, you’ll collect your gear, and snap a few last photographs. You’ll arrive back into Port McNeil late afternoon. . Breakfast & lunch included.
Prices & Dates
|Departure Dates 2018||£ per person|
|12, 19, 26 June||£884|
|03, 10, 17, 24, 31 July||£884|
|07, 14, 21, 28 August||£884|
|04, 11, 18 September||£884|
3 nights’ accommodation at the Orca Waters Base Camp ● All meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 4 ● All kayaking and camping equipment including kayaks, paddling jackets, life jacket, group shelters, tents, camp chairs, sleeping bags & pillows ● Return transfers from Port McNeill to Orca Waters Base Camp
Flights and airport taxes ● Any pre- and post-tour arrangements including transport to/from Port McNeill and overnight accommodation in Port McNeill - our team of travel specialists can arrange these on your behalf ● Additional meals not specified above ● Personal travel insurance ● Gratuities & items of a personal nature
Maximum group size: 8 guests
This kayak tour is limited to a maximum of 8 guests led by two guides.
A reasonable level of fitness will be required to participate in this tour. The physical exertion level ranges from easy to moderate. If you are not normally a moderately active person or do not use your upper body much you may find a few weeks of light exercise before your trip will enhance your enjoyment. Swimming a few times a week for 3 to 4 weeks before your trip is a great way to get your kayaking muscles into shape.
On the water you'll use stable single and double fibreglass kayaks and lightweight carbon/vinyl paddles. Waterproof kayaking jackets, personal floatation devices, and neoprene kayaking mitts are provided to keep you warm and dry while kayaking. This trip is open to beginners and experienced paddlers alike, although if you are new to paddling it would be advisable to book in a couple of taster lessons before you travel. You will be accompanied by experienced kayak guides throughout.
Orca Waters Base Camp
The Orca Waters Base Camp offers a very comfortable camping experience. Roomy tents, each raised off the ground on wooden platforms, are situated throughout the forest with views of the ocean. The tents provide standing room for most guests (1.9 metres tall) and are outfitted with wooden beds with the thickest and widest Therm-a-rest mattresses available. Sheets, fleece blankets, full-size pillows, warm barrel-style sleeping bags, and hot water bottles are all provided to ensure a good night’s sleep. A recharging station for digital cameras, an extensive library of natural history books, a safari style bucket shower, and a large covered kitchen and dining area made from locally milled red cedar make for a very comfortable wilderness camping experience.
Getting to Port McNeill, Vancouver Island
Port McNeill is located an easy 30 minute drive south of Port Hardy / 2 hours north of Campbell River. This package can easily be incorporated into a longer self-drive itinerary around Vancouver Island and beyond. Alternatively there are regular flights from Vancouver to Port Hardy, from where you can continue by bus or by taxi to Port McNeill.
It is advisable to arrive in Port McNeill the day prior to your kayaking adventure, to join a pre-tour briefing at 8pm with your kayak guides. They will give you an outline of what to expect over the next few days, distribute dry bags in which to pack your clothing, and answer any questions you may have. Your Canada travel specialist can provide a quote for overnight accommodation in Port McNeill, along with any other additional accommodation or transport arrangements you require.
Post-tour Departure Arrangements
Your tour will end with a water taxi transfer back to Port McNeill, usually arriving by 5pm on day 4. There is usually sufficient time to then catch a flight or ferry to the mainland, but delays can happen and so if you are not driving a post-night stay in Port McNeill is recommended.
How to book
So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.
We will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.
Speak to a specialist: 1-844-584-0668Book this trip
Our team of Travel Specialists have extensive first-hand knowledge of our destinations and are passionate about travel.