Sea Kayaking with Orcas in the Johnstone Strait, BC

The Johnstone Strait is a magical, glacier-carved waterway that is truly a sea kayaking dream. With gorgeous summer weather, glass-calm waters, and some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery on earth, the location alone makes for a stunning trip. But, there’s more - the Johnstone Strait is the single best place in the world to sea kayak with orcas (killer whales). More than 220 orcas swim through this protected channel each summer!

ROW Adventures’ four-day kayaking trip in the Johnstone Straight is a whale-watcher’s paradise. The campsite we use, by exclusive permit, is close to Robson Bight Orca Preserve—the only orca sanctuary in the world. Our beach camp site has been a hotspot for orca encounters for decades. The basecamp's shoreline is composed of sea-polished stones that lure an orca to rub its massive body along the beach, or herd salmon into the curve of the shore. Orcas regularly pass by directly in front of camp, allowing you to stand at water’s edge to watch the black and white beauties cruise by just below your feet! Spend a full four days and three nights kayaking out from this site, or extend your stay in the area on our unique basecamp-to-basecamp six-day paddle.

The 'Namgis First Nation hold the licenses for our sites. The camping techniques we practice are Leave No Trace. Areas stay clean and wild for the other 9 months of the year. Each of our camps have already set-up and spacious standing-height canvas tents all furnished with cots, sleeping bags, and thermarests for two guests. These are the most comfortable and spacious tents provided by any kayak company operating in the area and they are set on cedar bark. A small kitchen and dining area are also provided and built with materials found overlooking the Strait. A toilet platform with self-contained pit is located at the back of each camp.

Images & Videos

Tandem Sea kayakers on the pacific ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island on a foggy morning
Guests smile for a photo at their beachside camp in British Columbia
Orca whales on the surface of the Pacific Ocean seen off the coast of Vancouver Island
Guests sprawl gear on the beach at their stop for lunch while sea kayaking
Sea Lions poking out of the Pacific Ocean kissing each other in British Columbia
Sea kayaking gear laid out on the beach as guests gear up for a day of sea kayaking in British Columbia
Orca blow seen from a sea kayak in the Pacific Ocean
Bald Eagle in a tree in British Columbia
Person throwing a frisbee from the ocean on a sunny afternooon
Sea kayaker smiling on a foggy day on the Pacific Ocean
Tent set up amongst the dense forest of the Pacific Northwest
Guests searching for hermit crabs in the sand in the Johnstone Strait in British Columbia
Front view of an orca whale tail peaking out of the water in the Johnstone Strait
Tandem Sea kayakers on the pacific ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island on a foggy morning
Guests smile for a photo at their beachside camp in British Columbia
Orca whales on the surface of the Pacific Ocean seen off the coast of Vancouver Island
Guests sprawl gear on the beach at their stop for lunch while sea kayaking
Sea Lions poking out of the Pacific Ocean kissing each other in British Columbia
Sea kayaking gear laid out on the beach as guests gear up for a day of sea kayaking in British Columbia
Orca blow seen from a sea kayak in the Pacific Ocean
Bald Eagle in a tree in British Columbia
Person throwing a frisbee from the ocean on a sunny afternooon
Sea kayaker smiling on a foggy day on the Pacific Ocean
Tent set up amongst the dense forest of the Pacific Northwest
Guests searching for hermit crabs in the sand in the Johnstone Strait in British Columbia
Front view of an orca whale tail peaking out of the water in the Johnstone Strait

Itinerary

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Day 0

Travel to Port McNeill, Evening Orientation Meeting

Located just off of northern Vancouver Island, Port McNeill is a waterfront fishing village nearest our launch site in Telegraph Cove. The Haida Way Motor Inn will be the site of the evening orientation before your adventure begins. You can reserve a room here or elsewhere in Port McNeill. You'll have a chance to get acquainted with one another and distribute drybags, wetsuit booties, and other supplies for the adventure ahead.

ACCOMMODATION : Haida Way Motor Inn or Black Bear Resort

Day 1

Commute to Telegraph Cove, Sea Kayak to  Orca Base Camp

You'll start the day with a morning commute to the launch site in Telegraph Cove. On arrival, our superbly talented guides teach a lesson in kayaking safety. After launching from the cove, we begin our paddle within the roadless, densely-forested Johnstone Strait in the heart of orca territory. After marveling in the beauty of orcas, eagles, seals, and other marine animals, we paddle to our base camp in the heart of the "orca loop."  After settling in, enjoy a happy hour of local wines and hors d'oeuvres while our guides prepare a salmon bake for dinner. After dinner conversation drifts to the highlights of the day, relish a freshly baked dessert around a crackling campfire. As the stars rise and gain brilliance, we settle in for a restful night of slumber. Oftentimes, the sound of orcas blowing offshore will sing us to sleep.

ACCOMMODATION : Beachside Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Day 2-3

Sea Kayaking, Whale Watching, Wildlife Sighting, Robson Bight Preserve

Leisurely rise with the sun as it crests over rainforest boughs. Your guides are already hard at work preparing a warm breakfast, coffee, and tea. Spend part of the morning strolling along the beach, reading, or watching for orcas. Plan to kayak nearly four hours per day, with time for lunch and floating rest-breaks. A morning paddle leads us to our lunch site, where we can also hike and learn about the natural history of the area. An evening paddle brings us back to our base camp for another happy hour and dinner. Then, there's time to relax around the cozy campfire and listen to your guides tell stories and narrate local legends. During the trip, we paddle to Robson Bight Orca Preserve as well as First Nations pictograph sites. Orcas may appear any time on our tour.

ACCOMMODATION : Beachside Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Telegraph Cove, Whale Museum, Return to Port McNeill

After breakfast, we break camp and paddle to our take-out location at Telegraph Cove. Along the way, we stop for lunch and a visit to the Telegraph Cove whale museum. In the afternoon, a taxi returns guests to Port McNeill. We invite you to stay overnight in Port McNeill so you can join us for a no-host farewell dinner as a group! You can depart this evening by car, or fly out the next day.

ACCOMMODATION : Haida Way Motor Inn or Black Bear Resort
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD)
Jul 16, 2024 to Jul 19, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Jul 23, 2024 to Jul 26, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Jul 30, 2024 to Aug 02, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Aug 06, 2024 to Aug 09, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Aug 13, 2024 to Aug 16, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Aug 20, 2024 to Aug 23, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0
Aug 27, 2024 to Aug 30, 2024 $1,560£0€0$0$0$1,450£0€0$0$0

Supplementary Information

Looking for an alternative basecamp option? Check out our Humpback Basecamp Tour! During the early season, from late June to early July, we host this Humpback viewing adventure from our base camp in the Blackfish Sound!

FAMILY DEPARTURES (For children as young as 9): Ask your Adventure Consultant for more details!

TOUR INCLUDES: 

  • All meals while on tour
  • Optional provided wine with dinner
  • Transportation to and from the launch site
  • Kayaking instruction
  • All kayaking and camping equipment
  • Dry bags for your gear
  • Neoprene booties
  • Service of our certified professional Guides
  • Full service of our Adventure Consultants

TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE: 

  • Transportation to and from Port McNeill
  • Hotel before and after the tour
  • Meals before or after the tour
  • Special drinks or alcohol (excluding wine)
  • 5% Canadian Sales Tax
  • Gratuity for guides
  • Items of a personal nature

ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.

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