From our central location in the heart of Johnstone Strait, you’ll paddle daily, exploring the variety of kayaking routes in the area. The orcas regularly pass by our camp; often while we’re enjoying dinner around the campfire, and the nearby waters are thick with Bald eagles, harbour seals, dolphins, porpoises, and rich inter-tidal life. As well, we have fairly consistent sightings of Steller sea lions, humpback and Minke whales – all within easily paddling distance of our camp!
Our Base Camp tours add that extra bit of comfort and luxury. Tents are already set up when you arrive, there is no need to pack kayaks during the trip, and we have a covered dining area, propane heated shower, and solar powered camera re-charging station for your convenience. Compared to our Expedition Tours the camping equipment used at our base camp is upgraded to roomier 4 person tents (only 2 people per tent), thicker and wider sleeping pads, roomier barrel style sleeping bags and larger pillows.
With the comforts of an established base camp, you’ll have more time for relaxing and exploring – plus, to ensure utmost utilisation of your time, we make use of a water taxi for drop-off and pickup, ensuring maximum time on the water.
We first meet the evening before the trip starts at 8:00 pm for a short pre-trip meeting with your guides. They will provide you with an overview of what to expect on your trip, provide you with dry bags to pack your personal items and to answer any last minute questions you may have.
We meet at 9:00am to begin our trip. All your gear is taken to our awaiting water taxi by our van and a short 5 minute walk takes us to the harbour where we board the water taxi for the one hour trip to our base camp (in inclement weather our van will return to drive you to the water taxi). If necessary you will be able to store extra luggage at the hotel during your trip and leave your car parked in their lot free of charge.
On arrival at our base camp your guides will give you a short camp orientation. Once everyone is set up in their tents a short introduction to kayaking will be followed up by practising in the cove outside our camp. Once everyone is comfortable in their kayaks we begin our journey.
After enjoying a relaxed breakfast we begin the days paddle. Our base camp is well situated on one of the orcas main travel path as well as being in an area routinely visited by humpback whales. Also close by are many islets that are home to numerous sea birds and seals and the more protected inner passages of Broughton Archipelago where evidence still survives of past first nations use. Our exact routes will vary each day depending on possible wildlife sightings, currents, tides and weather.
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We provide an underwater hydrophone on all of our Orca Water tours and will often stop to listen to the sounds the orcas make. Our guides can often distinguish different orca clans by the sounds that they make and even identify many of the individual orcas through the shapes and markings of their dorsal fins. With the use of a photographic catalogue we can compare the orcas that we have seen over the day to identify the orcas to the families and clans they belong to.
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On our last day, we’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out for one last paddle. Returning to camp for lunch, you’ll pack up your gear, and snap a few last photographs. Our water taxi will pick us up between 3:00 – 4:00 PM for the trip back to Port McNeil, arriving by 5:00 PM.
We usually arrive back in Port McNeil in enough time for you to fly out of Port Hardy or catch a late ferry back to the mainland, but delays do happen. We suggest that our guests spend the last night in Port McNeil, enjoy the hot showers, and slowly transition out of vacation mode. Most guests choose this, and we often get together for a no-host farewell dinner at the Haida-Way Inn.
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Canada British Columbia Nature & Wildlife Wildlife Viewing Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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