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Family Orca Waters Kayak Tour - Sea Kayaking with Whales

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This four-day and three night tour focuses on exploring nature from kayaks at a pace suited for families and children. While the minimum age for participation on our regular kayak tours is 15, this kayak tour is ideal for families with children aged 6 to 14.

Using an established camp on Hanson Island as our base, each day we depart for short paddles where we take the time to interpret nature, explore sheltered bays and spot wildlife. Children are introduced to this fantastic area in a fun, relaxed manner, and the entire family will enjoy the thrill of viewing wildlife from kayaks.

Our kayak guides, with years of experience, are well acquainted with the local wildlife and natural history, knowledge which they are eager share with you. While the orcas (killer whales) are the area's big draw, we take the time to look at, and emphasize, all the other less obvious creatures that the area has to offer. It is hard to miss an orca’s 6 foot dorsal fin heading at your kayak, but when the orcas are not present our guides will help you spot the less obvious sea stars, urchins and anemones in the shallows and the smaller harbour seals, Dall's porpoises and white-sided dolphins that also frequent these waters. It is our experience that children can be just as fascinated exploring for crabs under rocks than they can be with a pod of orcas swimming past our kayaks.

With the permanently established camp, you have more time for relaxing and exploring, and to ensure utmost utilization of your time, we make use of a water taxi for drop-off and pickup, ensuring maximum time on the water.

On the last day of the trip, the water taxi picks us up in the morning and we head over to the ‘Bones Project’ Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove. This centre provides a special perspective after kayaking in the area, and the 60-foot skeleton of a Fin whale will leave you in awe.

Bring your family to Johnstone Strait and share with them the delights of sea kayaking with Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures.

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Family Orca Waters Base Camp Kayak Tours

Departure Point: Port McNeill, Vancouver Island

Dates: 

Cost: $1100 CAD per person plus tax

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Grizzly Bear Viewing Tours: Many of our guests add a grizzly bear viewing day trip before or after they join us kayaking. Let us know if you would like to add this activity and we will make all the arrangements.

The Camp: All the camping equipment at the family camp is bigger, roomier and more comfortable than what you will find on our expedition style kayak tours. We provide very roomy 4 person tents (usually one couple per tent but if kids want to sleep with their parents they will fit 2 adults and 2 children), thick comfortable sleeping pads, warm barrel style sleeping bags and full size pillows. The tents are permanently set up for the summer and are situated throughout the forest. A large tarp covered kitchen and dining area makes for a comfortable camping experience.

The camp is equipped with a re-charging station for guests cameras, an extensive library of natural history books (a few specifically for kids), and an outhouse with a fantastic view. We have a portable hydrophone so we can listen to orcas from both camp and our kayaks.

Includes: We provide you will all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jacket, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags(you may bring your own). A comprehensive list of required personal items can be viewed here. All meals during the kayak trip are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Port McNeill by our network of vans and water taxis.

What is not included: We do not provide transport from your home to Port McNeill, nor do we provide airport transfers. Accommodation in Port McNeill is not included. Any meals outside the kayak portion of the tour are your responsibility. Travel insurance for accidents or emergency evacuation is not provided; we recommend you purchase a policy before leaving home. The trip price does not include guide gratuities; should you feel that the service was exemplary, it is always appreciated.

Suggested reading: Our base camp has a library of field guides and local history books, including many listed below. We recommend the below books if you want to learn a bit about the area before visiting. Each title is linked to Amazon.com and will open in a new window. .

Operation Orca: Springer, Luna and the Struggle to Save West Coast Killer Whales
Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us
Full Moon, Flood Tide: Bill Proctor's Raincoast
Heart of the Raincoast: A Life Story

Charts: You do not need to bring charts on this kayak tour. Your guides have charts of the area and will review them with guests each day. If you wish to bring your own chart(s) they are listed below. Each chart is linked to the corresponding page on the Canadian Hydrographic Service's website and you can search where to buy these charts locally (links will open in a new window).

3546 - Broughton Strait - 1:40,000

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