Orca Explorer is our longest running (more than 25 years) and most popular Sea Kayaking trip for couples, families, and groups of friends.
Trips start from Port McNeill, BC. We transport folks into camp on the first morning and take time to show you Orca and Humpbacks on the way into our island basecamp in the core area of Johnstone Strait. Camp is located on a small islet where we spent three nights going to sleep with the sound of whales in the distance.. For more than twenty seasons our staff and guests have been kept is "AWE" with what Johnstone Strait has to offer us. We have no bugs, inspiring weather and incredibly accommodating wildlife in a wonderful area surrounded by snow capped mountains and rainforested islands.
Days are filled with paddling, short hikes watching wildlife and eating fresh food. Evenings are often ended around a beachfire,stories and smores.The camp is established at the beginning of the summer and maintained during the months of June to September. Accommodations are large tents with two beds, 3 inch mattress and set on cedar platforms close to the shoreline. Kayaking is a blend of sheltered and open waters adventure. Guides are fun and great teachers. We incorporate a variety of activities for our guests and offer hot running water for a shower at the end of the day.
Arrival Day: Arrival in Port McNeill the day before the trip is usually late in the day. McNeill has four small hotels(Humpback Inn, Black Bear Resort, Haida Way Hotel and the Dalewood Inn) that work well for guests during the summer months. We have a pre-trip meeting the night before your trip to inform you about what to expect for whales and weather for the week of your trip..Booking should be done early.
Boat transport to camp usually involves a side trip to see Orca or Humpback Whales before arriving at camp. We prefer to have you hear and see whales before we get to camp...this helps us at camp because now we have more ears to listen for whales passing by our island basecamp. Lunch is done either on the boat or when we get to camp and you get your private tent platform. Dinner is traditionally served at 6 pm leaving time to enjoy an evening around a beachfire. Darkness does not envelope us until 10 pm. However, we call it a day with our last look at the never ending sunsets.
This will be our second day to enjoy sea kayaking. An early start is usual to catch wildlife at first feeding or see whales on the first passage of the day. Whale activities are spontaneous but their travelling is predictable. We work with a network of Whale Watching boats and other kayak operators to monitor the movethis ents of Orca and Humpback Whales. Today, we will spend a great deal of our time on the water. It is also a possible day to sea kayak from one camp to the other. Guides will make this call in the mornings after checking with our network of informants. Either way expect to kayak and explore a great deal on day 2. Expect to take time to view eagle rookeries, whales in transit and sea lions hunting salmon.If you are at our Johnstone Strait island camp, this might be a good day to visit the beaches across the strait in the vicinity of Robson Bight.After a healthy dinner, stay open-minded for an evening of observation, sharing photos, and recollection about the day’s events around a beach fire. Over the season, as the days warm and the waters absorb increasing amounts of sun, bio-luminescence can be seen in the water as the evening gradually turns to darkness. It might be an opportune evening to paddle out for a short sunset kayak session.
On our third day we are again looking to get on the water as early as we can. Often by now folks are complaining about the songbirds or bald eagles waking them up early with the first light of the morning. If the morning presents us with a low tide, it is an opportunity to use the kayaks to float out in the shallows and take in marine life as you have never seen it. Or it may be again a good day to exchange camps in the eyes of whale activity and the direction of the current. Regardless, this is a day to take in maximum time to explore by paddling from one camp to another or staying local and checking out spontaneous wildlife and bird life activities. Our network of supports and our ability to monitor hydrophones gives us a step up on these wildlife events. Sometime in the afternoon or early evening we will take a look at a special part of the rainforest. Our walk through the forest might allow a glimpse of an owl, visit old growth trees or give us an chance to stretch our legs. As the day winds down, our focus will change to another pleasant evening with a late dinner and a beach fire special event that everyone has to experience if you come to Canada…smores!!!
Our final day is sometimes the best day of the trip so sleeping in is not an option. The morning begins with time for breakfast, a wash up and making our gear ready for the trip back to Port McNeill. Once that is done, we can get out on the water and kayak along a sheltered shoreline that opens through a passage to a seal rookery or an eagle rookery. Take a bit of time for pics and move onto the open water where a humpback and her calf have frequented for the past three summers. Gradually we will paddle back to camp catch lunch, load up and cruise back to Port McNeill with stops to take our last pics of Orca or visit a sea lion rookery in Weyton Passage. Arrival time back in Port McNeill is 3:00 - 3:30 pm. We will shuttle you up to your vehicles, get your luggage out of storage and enjoy our last exchange of information and pictures. Often we have a small keep sake for all who take the trip.
Note: Weather is always a factor in establishing daily paddling times. We maintain a flexible schedule to ensure that you get the best out of each day and evening. We always have a plan B for days with variable weather patterns.
Email us at "firstname.lastname@example.org" with your preferred trip dates and group size and we'll confirm availability. Some trip dates are already booked so do not wait to long to book you place on our trips.
Per Person: CAD$1395
Family Rates: Start @ CAD$4600 (2 adults/2 children) Deposit: CAD$250 per person
2023 Trip Days: Monday-Thursday (Custom Trip +15%)
June 19-22, June 26-29 July 03-06, July 10-13, July 17-20, July 24-27, July 31-03, August 07-12, August 14-17, August 21-24, August 28-31, Sept 04-07, Sept 11-14, Sept 18-21,