Are 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.
God’s Pocket Resort is a seven room lodge and the only dwelling in God’s Pocket Provincial Park, BC’s newest marine park. The lodge was grandfathered in due to its history in the area, and we are privileged to have exclusive use of this wilderness resort for our kayak tours. The area is considered the best coldwater dive site in the world by Jacques Cousteau due to the incredible diversity of marine life in this specific area.Trip Duration: 6 days, 5 nights. Departure from the lodge is after breakfast on day 6.Trip Difficulty: While not as strenuous in daily pace as our camping trips, this area has a greater chance for wind or current while paddling than our other BC destinations, so all guests must have a level of fitness that reflects regular exercise. You will also need to get in and out of the kayaks from a (sometimes slippery) dock and rocky, low-tide beaches, so a certain amount of limberness and strength is also required. The paddling level is appropriate for novices. Paddling time on the water is about 3-4 hours per day, broken up by lunch.Location: Queen Charlotte Strait, northern Vancouver Island. The meeting place is in Port Hardy, BC, which is the largest town on the northern tip of the island.Season: Mid-June through early August.Highlights: take a real shower and sleep in a bed after kayaking; diversity of underwater life and marine mammals; on-site chef; hiking through old growth forest.Suitability: This trip is perfect for adventurers age 14+ who do not want to camp, or wilderness and wildlife lovers looking for a unique paddling destination. The archipelago doesn’t have any designated campsites, so it’s very much untouched wilderness reached only by water. Because any participant may opt to stay at the lodge to hike or lounge instead of paddling, this trip is a great option for couples or families with varying degrees of kayaking interest and experience. We see orcas very rarely on this tour, and though other marine mammals are frequently present, whale lovers may find one of our orca tours more suitable.
Our 4-day Orca Base Camp is just a short paddle from Robson Bight, the world’s only orca preserve. We have exclusive permit from the Namgis band to utilize this remarkable site, which has a rich orca history. This pebble beach has a dropoff that attracts orcas to herd salmon into the curvature of the cove, and even rub their bellies on the smooth stones below the water’s surface. A rocky outcrop offers prime orca viewing as the whales troll along the shoreline, looking for salmon.Trip Duration: 4 days, 3 nights. Trip ends after lunch on the 4th day with a visit to Telegraph Cove and the Whale Interpretive Center.Trip Difficulty: Our style of “camping plus” requires minimal physical exertion, as the guides do all meal prep and you do not have to make or break camp. The paddling level on this tour is appropriate for novices, but all guests must be in good health with a fitness level reflecting regular exercise. Paddling time on the water is about 3-4 hours per day, broken up by lunch. There can be a few currents in this area, but our expert guides are very cognizant about monitoring wind and weather. Many folks find that the most difficult part of this tour is carrying the kayaks up the beach from the water into the forest (as a group), out of the high-tide line. The basecamp beach is long at low tide (at least 20 meters), over slippery, rounded rocks. However, the angle of the beach is moderate for the area, and not particularly steep.Location: Johnstone Strait, northern Vancouver Island. This is the BEST area in the world to view orcas (killer whales), as a resident population of over 220 orcas follow the summer salmon runs through the narrow geography of the strait, offering a unique chance for viewing.Season: Mid-July through mid-September only, per historic orca patterns.Highlights: The best place and time to see orcas, on the best permitted orca beach in the Strait; spacious, full-height canvas tents are assembled on soft cedar pads at our basecamp for a luxurious wilderness retreat, and you don’t have to set up or break camp; all meals are prepared fresh daily from scratch by the guides.Suitability: This tour is ideal for orca lovers, novice kayakers and campers, families with teens, those with limited time, and anyone who wants a relaxed wilderness adventure. Even those who don’t typically like camping, but are keen to see the orcas at “sea level,” will appreciate the relative comfort of this tour.
The 6-day Orca Waters Expedition begins with a stay at the same exclusive base camp site on the heart of the "orca loop," near Robson Bight, as featured in our four-day tour. You will then proceed on a paddle journey to our humpback campsite in the whale-rich territory of Blackfish Sound, at the southern tip of the Broughton Archipelago. You will be in orca territory for the duration of the tour, but will also have a chance to paddle some of the island channels and view the greater diversity of wildlife in these scenic passages, like the acrobatic humpback whale.Trip Duration: 6 days, 5 nights. Trip ends after lunch on the 6th day with a visit to Telegraph Cove and the Whale Interpretive Center.Trip Difficulty: This tour is a step up in physical difficulty from the orca basecamp, as you will paddle for two more days and will set up your own tent at our humpback campsite. However, it is still well-suited to novice kayakers and campers, as the paddling time will remain around 3-4 hours per day and in similar water conditions to the 4-day basecamp. The most demanding part of this trip remains carrying the kayaks into the forest above the high tide line. The beach at our humpback basecamp is steep with uneven footing, and the kayaks will be heavier with gear, so participants must be limber and fit enough to navigate the terrain with the unwieldy kayaks. All guests must be in good health with a fitness level reflecting regular exercise.Location: Johnstone Strait, northern Vancouver Island. This is the BEST area in the world to view orcas (killer whales), as a resident population of over 220 orcas follow the summer salmon runs through the narrow geography of the strait, offering a unique chance for viewing.Season: Mid-July through mid-September only, per historic orca patterns.Highlights: Same as orca basecamp, plus: this tour enters into Humpback Whale territory as well with a high success rate of sightings; First Nations pictographs are presentSuitability: This tour offers the most whale exposure of our BC trips, and more diversity of marine life and scenery than the basecamp. This trip is still suitable for novice paddlers, but we encourage all participants to have a regular exercise routine. Experienced campers will find the camping downright cushy, but novice adventurers will find the trip guide helpful in preparing to spend 6 days outdoors.
The Broughton Archipelago Kayak Tour includes a water-taxi into the heart of the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia’s largest Provincial Marine Park. This maze of islands offers a stunning chance to paddle through untouched wilderness areas, some of which can only be reached by kayak. The expedition style tour will feature a different campsite each night, but will include one night’s stay at the Paddlers’ Inn in the heart of the Marine Park.Trip Duration: 6 days, 5 nights. Trip ends on the 6th day with a visit to Telegraph Cove and the Whale Interpretive Center.Trip Difficulty: This is the most kayak-focused tour we offer in Canada, and you can expect to paddle at least 5-6 hours per day. Novice paddlers might find the pace challenging. We recommend participants have prior paddling experience and are in a regular exercise routine that strengthens their core and upper body. The level and conditions for paddling are still suitable for novices, so certifications aren’t required, but the length of time on the water requires a bit more physical preparation than our other tours. Participants will make and break camp each day, and all gear will be unpacked and repacked into the kayaks. Participants must also assist in carrying the kayaks into the forest above the high tide line. The beaches may be steep and uneven, with slippery footing.Location: The Broughton Archipelago is located just north of Johnstone Strait off Vancouver Island. Orcas aren’t typically present in the channels of the Archipelago, but the tour will spend 1-2 days in the Johnstone Strait area where whales may be sighted.Season: August and SeptemberHighlights: True expedition-style tour into areas where even boats cannot reach; beautiful island scenery; all meals are prepared fresh daily from scratch by the guidesSuitability: This tour is perfect for paddlers with some prior experience, and folks with above average fitness, who are more interested in kayaking through scenic areas than watching whales. Very advanced paddlers may find the pace slower than their own speed, but often enjoy the natural history and ease of camping. While the camping will still be quite cushy for experienced outdoorsfolk, this trip is best suited to adventures with some wilderness experience.