Orca whales are a sight to behold. Witness the huge mammals breaching while you paddle on the Johnstone Strait, and hear their calls with underwater microphones on your Zodiac experience.. The largely untouched Canadian wilderness provides an unforgettable backdrop to your water adventure. Paddle past inlets and uninhabited islands to the sight of bear cubs scurrying along the rocky shores.. See the Discovery Passage in style with waterfront lodging on Quadra Island and a unique orca glamping experience, with safari-style tents, hot tubs and a native-style sauna.. Kayaking is the best way to explore Canada’s Wildcoast, and with the ability to do as much or as little paddling as you’d like, your expedition is as free as the wild porpoises and orcas that’ll pass you by.
Escape to orca country with an eight-day kayaking expedition in Canada’s Wildcoast wilderness. Launching from the pristine Quadra Island, take an adventure on the glacial waters of Johnstone Strait to Wildcoast’s Orca Camp: prime killer whale territory, alongside porpoises, dolphins and humpbacks. Be encapsulated by misty forests lining the banks of northern Vancouver Island to the east, and mainland Canada to the west. After each day of exploring, nestle in a cedar hot tub and relax in your oceanfront glamping site. This is a nature lover’s dream to the remote Discovery Passage, without leaving any creature comforts behind.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 6 Dinner Included: 7
Campbell River / Quadra Island
Welcome to the pure west coast of Canada. You are able to check in to your accommodation on Quadra Island any time after 3 pm. To get there, the easiest way is to take a flight from Vancouver to Campbell River. Then, take a 20-minute airport shuttle to the ferry terminal, and hop on a 10-minute ferry to beautiful Quadra Island. From here, your transfer from the ferry terminal at Quadra Island to the resort is included. Relax in your waterfront lodging until 6 pm, when you will meet your group leader and fellow travellers at an important welcome meeting. If you do happen to arrive in the area early, we recommend staying in Campbell River: a larger town on Vancouver Island, at the south end of the Discovery Passage and nearby the stunning Elk Falls.
Time to jump on the Discovery Passage for a day of exploring. Take a Zodiac boat for a full-day Marine Wildlife Tour, right into the heart of Johnstone Strait. This your will provide you with a different experience than that of a few days’ time at the Orca camp. You’ll get the chance to see Humpback and Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Bears, Stellar Sea Lions, and even some eagles circling in the sky. The boats have a radio connectivity to find wildlife, and if the whales are feeling extra chatty, your guides may drop onboard Hydrophones (underwater microphones) into the water to hear whale vocalisations. Lunch is included on the full-day tour, and once arrived back at the resort, enjoy an included group dinner in the evening.
This morning, be prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, water shoes, a day-pack for water, a jacket, sun protection and extra snacks if you wish. Get picked up in a private vehicle and taken to ferry terminal (15 minutes drive) before taking the quick 10-minute ferry to Campbell river where you'll meet your local guide for the day (approximately 6 hours). Immersing you in the West Coast Wilderness, you'll connect with nature on this 8 km round trip hike through the coastal rain forest. You will hike up to the bluff overlooking Seymour Narrows and the site of the historic Ripple Rock explosion. Enjoy lunch on the bluff as you witness the natural wonder of whirlpools and riptides exploding below. This is a moderate hike, the trail is well maintained, however there are some fairly steep hills, and uneven terrain. You’ll be taken back to the resort by ferry and private vehicle later in the afternoon to enjoy an included group dinner.
Meet your expert guide at the resort dock and take a 2.5-hour water taxi ride to the Orca camp. However, it may take a little bit longer if you spot some porpoises, dolphins or whales along the way! The journey through the Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows is a perfect start to your sightseeing expedition. Once arrived and settled in to the camp, go on an afternoon kayak around the area to get your bearings and begin to discover the pristine wilderness surrounding camp. It may be a little cold, but luckily the hot tub is waiting for you when you return.
The best thing about having a base at Orca camp is that you can start exploring straight away without having to worry about a morning pack down. This is roughing it the easy way. Today, you’ll head out on a kayaking adventure exploring the coastline and keeping your eye out for the unique sea life along the way. Your expert guides will give you a run-down on what wildlife can be found in this remote part of the coast, and the ongoing issues that threaten the habitats of certain species. You’ll even have time to venture inland to visit a waterfall, and if you’re up to it, brave the glacial waters with a swim!
Spend a full day crossing the Johnstone Strait to the island opposite your camp. With a slow paddle along the shores, keep your eye out for bears and cubs that call this island home. Each day, your guides will prepare and serve delicious meals to sustain you and keep your energies high. At night, retire to a spacious safari-style tent elevated on wood platforms. For even more comfort, you’ll also have access to hot showers, a wood-fired hot tub and a native style sauna. This is living.
Orca Camp / Quadra Island
Soak up the final morning of Orca camp, perhaps with a sunrise paddle, before returning to Quadra Island by water taxi (approximately 2.5 hours). Your tour will return back to the same Quadra Island resort, where you’ll have a chance to relax in the afternoon and enjoy a lovely group dinner at the restaurant.
Check-out today at the resort is at 11 am, and included is transport back to the Quadra Island ferry terminal. From there, it is recommended to take a ferry back to the mainland. If you would like to spend more time in this beautiful part of the world, we would suggest staying in Campbell River. For more information, see the 'Important Notes' section.