Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical group size?
We like to keep the group size as small as possible. Depending on the trip destination, our tours average 6-10 guests.

Are the tours safe?
Safety is always first on our tours. All guides are certified by the Sea Kayak Guide Alliance of BC and are Wilderness First Aid certified. As well, our kayak companies invest in guide safety training and equipment maintenance. For communication in remote areas, our guides utilize VHF (marine) radios.

Is kayaking experience required for the trips?
While people with different levels of experience and ability participate, we mainly organize kayak tours rated at the novice level; at this level, kayaking experience is not required. On the first day of the kayak trip we provide kayaking and safety instructions before setting out on our adventure - as many of our guests are first-time kayakers, the guides are experienced with helping novice kayakers. We also offer some kayak holidays to individuals with higher fitness levels and experience such as those to the Queen Charlotte Islands. To find out whether a trip is suitable for you, please look at the itineraries of each individual kayak tour, which are rated from novice to expert.

What are the physical requirements?
Average physical health is required. Most of our kayak holidays are not strenuous or physically demanding and don't require a high level of fitness. However, these trips are adventurous and every day is different. On some days it might be a little bit more difficult to paddle than on others. If you have any health problems, let us know when you are making your reservation on the medical form so we can accommodate your needs and abilities. We recommend you check with a physician if you are in doubt about your ability to participate in a multi-day tour.

Is there an age requirement?
Individual fitness level is more important than age. However, we prefer kayakers be 12 years of age & older. Children from 5 to 11 years can be accommodated in the cargo hatch of a double kayak. If you have any questions about whether or not a person is old enough to participate in a particular tour, please contact our office.

How many hours per day do you paddle?
The amount of paddling per day depends on the destination, the group's abilities, weather and desires. Guests typically paddle between 4 and 6 hours a day; we paddle up to 2 hours at a stretch, stopping along the way for lunch, beach walks, swimming, hiking, washroom breaks, wildlife viewing or photos!

What sort of wildlife can I expect to see?
Vancouver Island is home to some very abundant and diverse wildlife populations. You will have the opportunity to see sea and shorebirds, waterfowl, whales, mink, otters, seals, dolphins, sea lions, raccoons, deer, wolves, cougars, bears and bald eagles. Some animals are more abundant in particular locations, so if you are interested in seeing a specific animal, please contact our office to see which tour is right for you. As an example, Grey whales and Humpback whales frequent the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Minke and Humpback whales and orcas can be found off the east of the Island.

The Queen Charlottte Islands are rich in wildlife in the sky and sea and on the ground; Gwaii Haanas, where we paddle, harbours around 39 species of plants and animals not found anywhere else on the planet. Among the native species, expect to see black bears and river otters, birds such as bald eagles, Steller's jays, and peregrine falcons, and all kinds of ocean creatures, from grey and killer whales to jellyfish and starfish.

Are there showers and toilets while camping?
Some of our tours carry solar showers. Alternatively, they are inexpensive to buy ($20 to $50) and guests that prefer solar showers generally bring their own. Otherwise, you can also wash in clean fresh water streams and the ocean. We request you use biodegradable brands of soaps and cleaners to protect the environment. Dry toilet facilities are available every night.

What type of meals do you offer?
We can carry a surprisingly large variety of food and ingredients in our kayaks. Our guides always prepare wholesome and fresh meals. Sometimes we catch our own fish and gather other seafood to introduce our guests to the famous coastal cuisine. Check out our sample menu.

What if I'm a vegetarian or have special food requirements?
No problem, we welcome vegetarians and others with special food requirements. All we ask is that you clearly indicate your needs when you fill out your booking form online.

What happens if the weather is poor?
The best defense against poor weather is excellent preparation. Once you register, you'll be forwarded a Trip Preparation package, which will tell you what you need to prepare for your kayak trip. If the weather looks threatening to the point where it could compromise safety, we wait it out.

Do I have to paddle in a double kayak, or can I have my own?
We use both single and double kayaks on all of our guided tours. However, doubles are recommended for novice kayakers.

When is the best time to go?
All of our tour dates offer unique experiences. The tour dates have been carefully chosen to avoid high use areas and times as much as possible. July and August are the busiest times for any tours, while May, June, September and October are shoulder season times.

Where will we camp?
Time spent in camp is a large part of the wilderness experience and as such we strive for sites that provide you with solitude and a view. Camps are always set up in an organized manner with comfort in mind.

Do you do custom tours?
Custom tours can be arranged for groups of 2 or more. Please make plans well in advance to ensure that we can accommodate your group. Contact our office to discuss your vacation.

Do I need kayaking experience?
No. Our trips are designed to be enjoyed by people who have never paddled before. Our guides will give all clients an introduction to paddling skills and safety practices before we are on the water. During the trip our guides will continue to help you improve your paddling skills and will also provide tips to experienced paddlers who want to improve their skills. Our Central Coast Expedition is the only exception to this, for this trip some previous kayaking experience is necessary.

What type of Physical condition do I need to be in?
You do not need to be in super physical condition to enjoy one of our trips. All that is necessary is a reasonable level of general fitness. Kayaking does not require great amounts of strength, more important is the proper paddling technique that our guides will help you develop. Your enjoyment of the trip will be enhanced if you are able to do regular exercise before your trip. Swimming is a great exercise to prepare your paddling muscles. More important than the body is the mind. Our trips take place in wilderness settings and we occasionally need to adjust our itineraries to comply with the whims of nature. You need to be prepared with both a positive outlook on life and a sense of adventure.

How much paddling will we do each day?
The amount of paddling we do each day varies with the weather conditions, tides and currents, possible wildlife sightings and how much paddling the group wants to do. On average we paddle about four to five hours each day. This allows us to enjoy the kayaking experience while still leaving ample time to explore the beaches, read a book or do nothing at all. While each of our trips do have itineraries, we try to remain as flexible as possible for the greatest amount of enjoyment for the entire group.

What is the food like?
We pride ourselves on the menus we provide. All meals are prepared by your guides using the freshest ingredients possible. Pasta and rice dishes predominate our meals with ample servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. If we are lucky we may supplement our meals with fresh caught seafood. You can also expect to enjoy fresh baked goodies almost every day. With advance notice we can accommodate most dietary restrictions.

What type of weather can be expected?
The summer months on the west coast are usually warm and sunny, but it can occasionally change to windy and rainy with very little notice. All of our camping equipment is designed to keep us comfortable in the varying conditions that can be expected. We provide you with a detailed list of the personal clothing you should bring. When properly prepared you will still have a fantastic time even if the weather is less than perfect.

What type of kayaks do you use?
We use top of the line fiberglass sea kayaks, made by Seaward Kayaks of Ladysmith, BC and Current Designs Kayaks. We use a mixture of single and double kayaks on our trips. On a full trip with 8 guests you can expect to have 2 doubles and 4 singles available.

What is provided and what do I need to bring with me?
We provide all kayaking, safety, camping and dining equipment. To ensure you have a good nights rest we provide roomy 3 person tents (2 people per tent), Therm-A-Rest Sleeping pads, mummy style sleeping bags and comfy camp chairs. We provide all of the same on our base camp tours but upgrade the tents to roomier 4 person tents (still only 2 people per tent), thicker and wider sleeping pads, roomier barrel style sleeping bags and pillows. Lists of recommended personal items and of items we provide are provided to make packing easy.

How many people are on your trips?
All of our trips have a maximum of eight guests and we will provide two guides to lead each trip. Our guide to client ratio and total group size is smaller than most other tour operators. This is for both the clients' benefit, as it allows for greater individual attention, and for nature's, as it minimizes the impact we have on environmentally sensitive areas.

North America: 1.800.255.5057 - UK: 0.800.051.6364 - Australia: 1.800.143.454

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Queen Charlotte Strait Johnstone Strait Queen Charlotte Islands Gulf Islands Broken Island Group Clayoquot Sound Northwest Coast Great Bear Rainforest Desolation Sound
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From Our Blog

"One of the Best Holidays of My Life"

Tuesday, February 9 2016

Here's a fantastic comment we received from Ann after her kayak vacation last August, her second Vancouver Island Kayak tour.

Scott, As we spoke earlier I can't thank you enough for being the facilitator in what truly has to be the best or at at least one of the best holidays of my life.  I only say one as my husband is not here and I wish he could have experienced the wonders of British Columbia nature first hand.

I had two wonderful but very different kayak trips.  The first to the Broken Island Group and the second up here in Port Mc Neil.  I enjoyed both for different reasons.  Different geographies. Wildlife and also fellow travellers on the trip but both wonderfully well organised and the natural beauty of this place speaks for itself.

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