Whale Watching and Wildlife Viewing Johnstone Strait 

We Stop For Whales!

Keep your camera within easy reach! For the past five years we have enjoyed the presence of a growing number of humpback whales from open water to the waters of Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. Recent healthy salmon migrations translate into consistent sightings of resident orcas and humpback whales.

Many transport trips are halted by the passing of whales. Your captain enjoys the experience as much as you will. It is always an inspiring experience. We are not in the whale watching business but conduct our transport vessel within the whale watching guidelines we signed into years ago.

We do help the whale watching industry locate and ID whales as we transit the three waterways between Telegraph Cove and the Broughton Archipelago.

Wildlife sightings are not affected by the weather and therefore we even find them on overcast days. Eagles, ravens, seals, porpoises, Orcas (killer whales), sea lions and other wildlife are abundant at points along the routes of many of our transport routes so keep your camera and binoculars close by.We are also setup with hydrophones to listen in on whale vocalization when the opportunity presents itself.

Both our businesses Telegraph Cove Sea Kayak Company and Discovery Orca Sea Kayaking Expeditions comply with the whale watching code to ensure that we do not disturb or alter the behavior or paths of whales in the area from Seymour Inlet to Johnstone Strait. We encourage folks who rent and transport with us. We are the practicing professionals who are on the water everyday of weeks of the summer and conduct ourselves in a manor to follow the guideline of DFO and our modified guidelines for kayakers.  We suggest as part of your pre-trip prep that you visit the Department of Fisheries website that post the guideline in print. And further to that educate yourselves about the behaviours of the many marine mammals in our area. If you have the time visit the MERS site or take their naturalists courses pre-season. Happy Whale Watching!

Be Whale Wise Marine Wildlife Guidelines for Kayaking Not Familiar With Out Waters

(Revised 2018 LW ROY):

1.  BE CAUTIOUS and COURTEOUS:  approach areas of known or visible marine mammal activity with extreme caution. Look in all directions before planning your approach or departure.

2. SLOW ENTRY: approach the marine mammals with a idea of their direction of travel and stay a safe distance or in the kelp to stablize yourself for pictures. An alternative in open water is to raft up into one tight group...make it easier for the whales to know where you are located. DFO recommends 100 metres/yards of the nearest whale.

3. KEEP CLEAR of the whales’ path. Avoid abrupt direction changes in your kayak. If whales are approaching you, cautiously back paddle away from the point last seen.

4. DO NOT APPROACH whales from the front or from behind. Always approach and depart whales from the side, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales.

5. DO NOT POSITION your  kayak closer than 100 metres/300 yards to any whale. * If you wondering what 100 metres is on the water think about running 100 metres when you were is school.

6. STAY CLOSE TO SHORE If your vessel is not in compliance with the 100 metres/300 yards approach guideline (#5), place engine in neutral and allow whales to pass.

7. LIMIT YOUR VIEWING TIME maximum of 30 minutes. This will minimize the cumulative impact of many vessels and give consideration to other viewers.

8. SLOW EXIT  perferably back paddle away from the marine mammal activity, or let it pass at 100 metres/300 yards or stay rafted up and let the wind/current take you in the prevailing direction at that time.

Bow and stern-riding porpoises and dolphins:

1. DO NOT interupt the path of a group of white-sided dolphins with noise or putting your kayak across the traveling path.

2. Should dolphins or porpoises choose to find you and your kayak of interest, stop paddling and just enjoy the experience.

Seals, sea lions, ducks and shore birds on haul outs:

Harbour Seals, Sea Lions, Ducks, Shore birds on haul outs

1. BE CAUTIOUS AND QUIET when around haul-outs and bird colonies, especially during breeding, nesting and pupping seasons (generally May to September).

2. REDUCE SPEED to a minimum; minimize wake, wash and noise, and then slowly pass without stopping.

3. AVOID approaching closer than 100metres/300 yards to any marine mammals or birds.

4. PAY ATTENTION and move away, slowly and cautiously, at the first sign of disturbance or agitation.

5. DO NOT disturb, move, feed or touch any marine wildlife, including seal pups. If you are concerned about a potentially sick or stranded animal, contact your local stranding network where available.