Family Tours Kayak Tours

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Family Tours

Searching under rocks for crabs, watching humpback whales feed on a school of small fish, or being surprised as a harbor seal pops up right next to their kayak are all memories children cherish for a lifetime. Kingfisher’s Family Kayak With Whales base camp kayak tours are designed for families with children aged 6 to 14 and are a great way for the whole family to better appreciate wildlife and nature.

The Family Kayak With Whales takes place in Johnston Strait on an island off the north-east coast of Vancouver Island. Our base camp tour involves three days of kayaking and three nights of comfortable camping at our family base camp. On the fourth day we depart camp in the morning by water taxi and head to Telegraph Cove where we visit the Whale Interpretive Centre. After the visit to the whale interpretive centre and lunch our van drives the group back to end the trip in Port McNeill. The family case camp is less than two miles from our “adult” base camp and is well suited for viewing a wide variety of wildlife.

During your stay at the camp we explore the variety of kayaking routes the area has to offer. The camp is surrounded by old growth rainforest and is right in the heart of the wildlife rich waters of Johnstone Strait, recognized as one of the most predictable places in the world to kayak with both orcas and humpback whales. The nearby waters are also home to harbour seals, sea lions, porpoises, sea birds, and rich intertidal life. A number of bald eagle nests and harbour seal haul-outs are all a short paddling distance from camp.

Our guides are well acquainted with the whales and other wildlife we encounter and are experienced with working with children in both educational and outdoor settings. Children are often just as amazed by the seals and the crabs hiding under the rocks as they are with the whales, and our guides structure each day to suit a child’s style of exploration.

The family base camp offers a very comfortable camping experience and with our knowledgeable kayak guides this tour is suitable for adventurous families 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. 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.

On family tours we primarily use stable double fibreglass kayaks with an adult in the rear seat and a child in the front. We also have triple kayaks that allow a smaller child to sit between two parents. In addition to the regular adult-sized gear we provide, special child-sized personal floatation devices and waterproof kayaking jackets are also provided.

We provide you with all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jackets, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags (you may bring your own). A comprehensive list of required personal items will be provided upon booking. All meals during the kayak trip are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Port McNeill by our network of vans and water taxis.

A note on June and early July departures: June and early July is a great time to be kayaking in Johnstone Strait and there is an unbelievable assortment of wildlife. The resident (fish-eating) orcas, however, are not reliably seen until mid-July. They may be intermittently seen during June and early July along with the transient (mammal-eating) orcas but are not as consistent as later in the summer. You can be assured that an early season tour provides a great kayaking experience and a wide variety of wildlife is present without all the extra people that visit mid-summer. All meals provided and prepared by your guides as stated on itinerary.

Please note that as we take a maximum of 10 paddlers. Given we average four persons per family, our trips sell out very quickly. We encourage you to book early. 



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

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From Our Blog

Great Bear Rainforest

Wednesday, March 3 2021

Sorry to report that we're now taking a waitlist on our 10 day Great Bear Rainforest kayak trips. Please take a look at our 6 and 9 day Mothership Adventures of this area, which centre on kayaking. more