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6 Day Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago Expedition and Whale Watching Safari in Canada
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 6 Day Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago Expedition and Whale Watching Safari in Canada

Paddler’s Inn, Broughton Archipelago, Mount Waddington, British Columbia, V0P 1S0, Canada

Paddling and Whale Watching Safari Canada

Spirit of the West Adventures invite you to get ready for a sea kayak adventure! Explore the spirit of the unique and wild Pacific West Coast of Canada. Kayak the realm of orca and humpback whales. Set up your tent on a remote island and listen to the marine wildlife swimming past your tent at night, combining the best paddling and whale watching opportunities, all in one exceptional route. Come, relax, and enjoy!

Overview

  • Maximum group size: 10 persons
  • Children policy: Children are allowed to participate at the minimum age of 12
  • Starting point and ending point: Campbell River or Quadra Island
  • Park and land use permits are included

Highlights

  • Expert guiding service
  • All kayaking and safety equipment
  • Camping equipment, except for sleeping bag
  • Food and drinks from morning snack on day one to lunch on day six
  • Transport from and to Quadra Island or Campbell River
  • Water taxi drop-off and pick-up
  • Park and land use permits
  • 5 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


5 activity days
Group size: Maximum of 10 participants
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Accommodation

There are so many beautiful places to camp in you will be hard pressed to choose a favorite campsite. Each site has unique attributes either tucked in among towering forests, atop ancient village sites, or over overlooking wildlife rich waters. This is a true expedition style trip which means you will move from camp to camp each day. You will also spend one night in style and comfort at the Paddler’s Inn lodge.

Spirit of the West Adventures will do their best to make sure you are comfortable and feel at home on your tour. They use high quality expedition style tents and thermarests. Most campsites can accommodate the solo and double tent preferences of the group. If you prefer your own tent, please just let them know when reserving your tour.

Please note that tents sites are typically accessed by forest trails that may be uneven and by traversing some roots and rocks. Guests are generally responsible for carrying their own gear at camps, but please ask one of your guides if you require assistance.

You will begin or end your expedition at the Paddler’s Inn, in one of the more remote corners on the British Columbia coast. The warm hospitality of the McMorran family will ensure that your stay is both comfortable and relaxing. This is the perfect way to start or finish this wonderful journey. On-site massage, showers, and trails are available at the Paddlers Inn.

Program

This tour offers you a chance to paddle one of the most amazing kayak routes in North America. It combines travel in the realm of the humpback and killer whales along with paddling among the beautiful islands of the Broughton Archipelago. You will spend one of your nights of this tour in the comfort of a remote floating lodge set in an archipelago off the shores of north Vancouver Island.

From this lodge you journey through the enchanting islands, along the way visiting ancient First Nations sites, local characters, wildlife hot sposts all the while keeping your eyes and ears open for the tell tale blow of the area's many orca and humpback whales.

The tour

Your adventure begins in Quadra Island or Campbell River, from where you journey for two and a half hours north along the scenic island highway to the historic town of Telegraph Cove. Here, you visit the Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretative Center, known as the Bones Project, an impressive collection of information about the skeletons of coastal creatures.

Then, your water taxi whisks you off into the heart of the islands, and the adventure continues for the next five days. This is a point-to-point expedition style trip where you pack everything into the kayaks each day and head to a new camp spot each night. There is no retracing your paddle strokes as the water taxi allows you to travel one direction only and then be transported back to Telegraph Cove on your last day.

What makes this tour so unique

No backtracking and scenic water taxi ride

Explore somewhere new each day! The Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait areas include too many amazing places to explore in one trip, but in order to make the most of your time here you will make use of a water taxi shuttle that drops you off at the start and picks you up at the end so you don’t need to waste time backtracking. This also allows you to get off the beaten track to a remote lodge for a night of warm showers and comfortable beds at either the beginning or end of your tour. Spirit of the West Adventures run these tours back to back in alternating directions, please send them an inquiry to determine which direction of travel corresponds with your desired tour date.

Increasing number of whales

The humpback whale populations in this area are on the rise. Each summer, more and more whales return to these nutrient rich waters. To top that off, the Johnstone Strait area is favored by the majestic orca.

Paddling

You will traverse both the relatively open waters of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, as well as the more protected islands and islets of the remote Broughtons, one of the most stunning seascapes around. This area and your tour have been featured in many distinguished lists and publications including the National Geograpic Adventure Ultimate Bucket List and 50 Places to Paddle Before You Die.

Sample itinerary

Pre-trip meeting day

Your guides will go over the logistics of the tour and answer any questions or concerns you may have. This meeting will be held in the lounge at the Heriot Bay Inn, on Quadra Island, at 6:00 p.m. the day prior to departure. If you cannot make it to the meeting, just be sure to call in the day before departure to confirm your arrival. The Heriot Bay Inn has one of Quadra Island’s best restaurants so you may want to consider eating there after the meeting.

Meeting location

The Johnstone Strait expedition tour departs from either Campbell River or Quadra Island (a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River). Spirit of the West Adventures is based on Quadra Island and they highly recommend making Quadra Island a part of your vacation plans. They are biased, of course, as they live there, but Quadra Island has a whole different and laid back feel to it, complete with endless opportunities for beach walks, hikes, biking, and visiting local artisans.

Day 1

Good Morning! After picking you up at your Quadra Island accommodation, you will depart the island by ferry and then travel together in your van for two and a half hours to historic Telegraph Cove. Once in Telegraph Cove, you will enjoy a picnic lunch. You will then transfer yourself and the equipment aboard your water taxi, and journey out to either the Hanson Island campsite or to the Paddler’s Inn eco-lodge. If time and weather allow it, you will get out for your first introductory paddle after a kayak briefing from your guides.

Day 2

After breakfast, you will pack your kayaks and head off on your expedition. Your first day will be spent exploring the islands of the Broughton Archipelago or the orca waters of Johnstone Strait (depending on your starting point), and enjoying the stunning views and wildlife while en-route to the camp for the night.

Days 3 to 5

Paddle among the enchanting islands of the Broughton Archipelago. The Broughton Archipelago is a network of forested islands and protected passageways that offers both scenic paddling, as well as an intriguing history. You will go back in time as you visit the ancient village site of Mamaliliculla, and learn about the Kwa kwaka’wakw First Nations people. You will keep your eyes and ears on the lookout for the many marine and land animals that call this area home.

Day 6

This is your last day to enjoy the marine environment of Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. Your boat transport will pick you up in the afternoon and bring you back to Telegraph Cove. From Telegraph Cove, you drive back to Campbell River and Quadra Island, arriving between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Your arrival times are both weather and wildlife dependent.

Your guides are extremely skilled (and certified by the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia) in kayaking, back country travel, responsible environmental practices, and high levels of first aid and safety procedures, continually upgrading their training and striving to improve knowledge and skills.

Location

This tour takes you through Johnstone Strait and the islands of the Broughton Archipelago Provinicial Marine Park, a network of forested islands and protected passageways that offers both scenic paddling, as well as an intriguing history. The tour takes you back in time as you visit the ancient village site of Mamaliliculla and learn about the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations people.

You will be on the lookout for the many marine mammals, including orcas, humpbacks, minke whales, dolphins, porpoise, and sea lions which travel through these waters. You will also keep watch for the eagles, deer, black bears, and all of the incredible wildlife that tends to stick closer to shore.

Food

During your stay, all food and drinks will be provided, from morning snack on day one to lunch on day six, except for alcohol. Spirit of the West Adventures consider food to be a very important part of your tour. From their wild and local fish dinner to their chocolate fondue and home baking desserts, there are few camp menus that compare to the one you will experience on this tour.

They have a wonderful kitchen crew who ensure all dietary needs and restrictions are met, providing creative culinary alternatives that will please vegetarians, vegans, gluten and wheat-free diets, and those with various allergies and food sensitivities. Of course, the food is hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and fun.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Beach walks, hikes, biking, and visiting local artisans on Quadra Island
  • Exploring
  • Kayaking
  • Reading (the guides carry a portable library)
  • Relaxing
  • Swimming (for the people who like cold ocean water)

Accommodations before and after the tour

Spirit of the West Adventures encourage their guests to stay on Quadra Island before and after the trip, as Quadra Island is not to be missed. They work closely with two bed and breakfasts on the island, Quadra Island Harbour House and Chipperfield Hollow B&B. Both are located within easy walking distance of the pre-tour meeting location, the Heriot Bay Inn.

These guesthouses are also within walking distance of Rebecca Spit Provincial Park, stores, a restaurant, and pub. Staying here is the ideal way to meet fellow kayakers on your tour, prepare for your trip, and relax after your return. Hearty and healthy breakfasts are served. If you would like other suggestions for where to stay while on the island, from camping to resorts, they have a full list of recommended accommodations.

Chipperfield Hollow B&B

Mike and Robin host you at their home in a secluded forest setting perfect for a friendly bed and breakfast. This a great location, right in Heriot Bay, just a short walking distance to the Heriot Bay Inn, the store, and beaches.

Harbour House B&B

This is a beautiful home above the ocean with the best island and mountain view around. It is close to the beach, park, and amenities. There is a hot tub on-site. Hearty breakfasts are served. It accommodates up to 10 persons and it is a great place to meet fellow kayakers.

What's included

  • Expert guiding service
  • Park and land use permits
  • All kayaking and safety equipment
  • Camping equipment (except for sleeping bag)
  • Food and drinks from morning snack on day one to lunch on day six (except alcohol)
  • Transport from and to Quadra Island or Campbell River to launch point in Telegraph Cove
  • Water taxi drop-off and pick-up
  • 5 nights accommodation

What's not included

  • Accommodation before or after the tour
  • Alcoholic or carbonated beverages
  • Flights, airport transfers, ferries, taxis
  • Personal items (toiletries, clothing, etc.)
  • Rain gear, sleeping bags (can be rented in advance, at the time of booking)
  • Travel / medical insurance
  • 5% GST tax and optional 20 CAD sustainability fee

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Campbell River Airport (YBL). Transfers from and to this airport are not included. The airport is only a 15-minute ferry ride from Quadra Island, where you will meet for the pre-trip meeting the night before the tour starts. All guests need a rental car to attend the meeting. There is no public transportation on Quadra Island.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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