Whales and Grizzly Bears (25.254)

Location: Johnstone Strait
Price: $1595.00
Duration: 4 days/3 nights

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Departs from/arrives at: Port McNeill
Accomodations: Camping
Tour Type: Leisure Tour
Activity Level: Novice
Nearest Town/Village: Port McNeill
Inclusions:
  • Kayaks double or single
  • Professional Guides
  • Kayak instruction
  • Safety equipment
  • Camping equipment and tents
  • Cooking equipment
  • Meals as stated on itinerary
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sheets
  • Thermarest
  • Paddling Jacket
  • Dry bags
  • Group hydrophone
  • Parking
  • Water taxi on day 1 and 4.
Exclusions:
Guest Parking: Yes Details: Parking available at pre-trip meeting area.
First Nations: Our Base Camp on Hanson Island is leased from the Yukusam Heritage Society which is comprised of three local First Nation bands.
Additional Information:
There is no better place in the world to kayak with both killer whales and humpback whales than Johnstone Strait off the northeastern corner of Vancouver Island. A two hour fast boat ride away is Knight Inlet, a long and deep glacier-carved fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains and steep-sided, forested cliffs. Here, in Glendale Cove, is a population of Grizzly bears that roam the coast and shallow streams. This area is recognized as one of the most predictable places in the world to see these great creatures.

During a four day and three-night stay at the base camp you explore the variety of kayaking routes the area has to offer. Killer whales and humpback 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. On our last day we journey up Glendale Cove by fast boat to see grizzly bears.

Our guides are well acquainted with the natural history, whales, and other wildlife of British Columbia’s coast, knowledge which they eagerly share. It is hard to miss a killer whale’s six foot dorsal fin as it passes your kayak, but your guides also help you spot the less obvious sea stars, urchins and anemones in the shallows and educate you about the other whales, seals, porpoises, and dolphins that frequent these waters.

On the water we 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.
The base camps offer a very comfortable camping experience and, with our knowledgeable kayak guides, this tour is suitable for adventurous travellers even if they have little or no kayaking or 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 camping experience.
Plan to be in Port McNeill the night before the kayak tour departs. There is a pre-trip meeting at 8:00 pm with your guides at our Port McNeill office across the street from the Haida Way Inn and next to the Black Bear Resort. Your guides will provide you with an overview for your trip, distribute dry bags to pack your clothing and answer any questions you may have.

Itinerary

  • Day
    1

    We meet at 8:30 am to head down to the marina to load our water taxi. It is just a short walk from the hotels, and all your bags are transported by our van. Vehicles and extra luggage can be left at your hotel while you are on your kayak tour. If you are not staying at a hotel or B&B with parking, we have limited free parking and luggage storage available at our office.

    The 45 to 60 minute water taxi ride takes us to our base camp. Upon arrival at the base camp your guides provide a site orientation, plus a kayak and safety briefing. We 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 area's diverse wildlife.

    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

    Accomodation: Camping

  • Day
    2

    Each day brings a new journey; our base camp is ideally situated for exploring the area. The base camp is located on killer whale travel routes and humpback whales often feed within sight of 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.

    Both killer whales and humpback whales regularly pass by our camp, and we have enjoyed many dinner shows from the beach. When we encounter killer whales on the water, we often drop a hydrophone into the water so we can listen to their vocalizations.

    Your kayak guides plan each day according to weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and guest interests. Lunches are usually spent on a secluded beach. We return late each afternoon to the comforts of the base camp.

    Every day is different, but rest assured, our goals are the same as yours-- exploring, kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the scenery.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accomodation: Camping

  • Day
    3

    Every day is different, but rest assured, our goals are the same as yours-- exploring, kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the scenery.

    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, our goals are the same as yours– exploring, kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the scenery.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accomodation: Camping

  • Day
    4

    Today is an early start. We are picked up around 7:00 am by Tide Rip Tours for a two hour boat ride up Knight Inlet. When we arrive at our destination in Glendale Cove we move to a flat-bottom boat to view grizzly bears from the estuary and river. We arrive back in Telegraph Cove around 4:00 pm where our van is waiting to drive us back to Port McNeill. The timing of the bear tour is flexible to improve viewing opportunities so a later arrival back in Port McNeill is possible.

    We strongly suggest that our guests spend the last night in Port McNeill, enjoy a hot shower, and slowly transition out of vacation mode. Most guests choose to do this, and guests and guides often get together for a no-host farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Accomodation: Accommodation by Customer

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

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From Our Blog

Getting Busy

Saturday, February 16 2019

Here in Victoria the snow is dissipating which we hope is a sign that spring is around the corner. While many others remain locked in winter's grasp, most everyone (except for the die-hard skiers) are thinking of warmer weather. And from my corner of the world, this translates to kayak vacations. In particular, our trips to Haida Gwaii, Johnstone Strait and Broken Group are gathering speed, with a number of departures sold out and some others having one or two seats remaining. Please use our search engine to select a date and trip - if the departure you want is booked please let me know.  If the demand is there, I might be able to put on another departure. 

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