Johnstone Strait Kayaking
from† CAD $2349
On our kayaking with Orca Whales Trip we will be on the lookout for orca pods while exploring the strait. Although there can be no guarantees, our dates represent the most opportune time to sea kayak and have an encounter of the orca kind. Combine the exhilaration of kayaking beside these breaching, spouting, power swimming orcas, with rugged coastal scenery, magnificent west coast rainforest, and you have the ultimate personal and coastal kayaking experience.
Activity Level Mild to Moderate
Group Size Medium
Dates and PricesBook Now
- Day 1 Pick up and travel to our put-in location
We will pick you up from your accommodation in Nanaimo (near downtown). Next we will start the journey northwards on the Island towards our destination at Alder Bay or Telegraph Cove. We should arrive there in the late afternoon/early evening.
- Day 2-6 Paddling Journey
Several factors, such as weather, tides, current, group ability, group goals, and the distribution of pods will ultimately decide our campsites, paddling time, and route, and as such, a day by day, precise itinerary, is undesirable and impractical. We have developed an itinerary which focuses on the areas in Johnstone Strait and which present the best chance of viewing orcas. By so doing, we hope to avoid the busier marine traffic around Telegraph Cove and the islands in that area. Along the way, there will be opportunities to explore the many coves, beaches, and marine life that characterize the strait. Different campsites are planned throughout our paddle.
- Day 7 Return to Nanaimo
We will return to our put-in point on Day 7 and return to Nanaimo sometime in the evening.
A complete itinerary along with maps, clothing and equipment list, will be issued upon registration.
Day 0: Arrival in Nanaimo
This denotes the day(s) spent in Nanaimo before the listed start date of the trip. We like to do a pre-trip meeting the night before departure to go over gear and expectations.
inclusions and exclusions at a glance
- Transportation from the point of origin and return
- Sea kayaks and gear (pfd, paddle, spray skirt, etc.)
- Dry bags for your clothing and sensitive gear
- Snacks/beverages on the expedition
- All meals while on the kayaking portion**
- Meal preparation
- Camping fees
- Exceptional guides for entire journey
- Cooking gear/camp stoves/water filtration
- Tents & tarps
- Emergency radio/satellite phone/major first aid supplies
- † We can provide sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and booties for rent
- Transportation to point of origin, transfers, personal equipment, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary.
- Gratuities are not included. Our guides make every effort to ensure your holiday is all you expected and more. Recognition of a job well done is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended.
- Single tents †(available for a single supplement charge)
Vancouver Many of the major North American carriers fly into Vancouver or alternately, Seattle. Check with your travel agent for options. There is a bus service, Quick Shuttle , from Seattle's airport to hotels in Vancouver. These run daily and are reasonably priced. For more information, in North America, phone 1/800/665-2122 or 1/604/940-4428 – Fax 1/604/940-4429. Check the link regarding shuttles and other airport information.
Nanaimo Several bigger carriers fly into Nanaimo, usually after a change in Vancouver. Check with your travel agent for options that take you all the way to Nanaimo. Alternatively, the Horseshoe Bay ferry in West Vancouver sails to Departure Bay, Nanaimo. The Tsawwassen ferry terminal also has sailings to the Duke Point ferry terminal in Nanaimo.
You don't need to have paddled before. Experience helps, but we will show you everything you need along the way. Our guides will assist you and teach you basic paddling skills.
In Canada, where are there NOT bugs? Fortunately, we are not deep in the forest or muskeg, where the mosquitoes and/or blackflies cover you like a blanket. Typically, if there is a breeze, there are no bugs. If it is calm, there are bugs. On the actual west coast, there are relatively few mosquitos and no-seeums, but some. It is helpful to have a bug net for your head and some bug spray with you.
There is never an intention for you to flip and get soaked, but sometimes it happens. We provide you with dry bags for your clothing and gear. We also show you how to properly use them to make sure your things stay dry.
Tips, or gratuities, are not mandatory. However, please consider what service is actually being given to you. While you might think that the company should just pay the guides better, it is not so simple. We do work in a competitive market, and pay rates are a function of the trip prices. If we could double prices, we would pay guides significantly better. At Sea to Sky, we have some of the better pay rates in the industry, and we are always pushing our competitors to increase pay rates for guides, but there is only so much we can do. Guides are seasonal workers. They shift off of their summer season to winter activities, or fill in with retail work, which is usually little more than minimum wage, often to periods of no work between seasonal jobs. It is a hard job, and wearing on the body.
The guides carry most of the group gear, so they have heavier loads than you have, all for you, because they would not be carrying much of the extras on a personal trip. Your guides are teaching you, helping you through challenges, cooking for you and serving you your meals, providing a safety envelope for you, and if you have a really good guide, they are filling you up with a deeper experience of being in the place you are visiting by telling you about the flora, fauna and history of the place.
So, how much should you tip your guides?
If you ate every meal out in a day, at a good, but low-cost restaurant, you would probably tip between $10 and $15 per day. If you were travelling and visiting a city and ate all your meals out, this is about how much you would tip for the day, low end. I would submit that the guides are feeding you all three meals in a day, AND serving you in so many more ways. That makes $10-$15 a day a minimum consideration, really. 10% to 15% of a trip price has been another rule of thumb that has been used. If your trip price is $2000, then $200 to $300 split between the guides is reasonable, and falls within that standard. Like most humans, guides are motivated when they are recognized and valued.
Your circumstances matter. If you are a student and clearly struggled to put together the cost of the trip, or have other circumstances that limit your ability to tip, guides understand and honour your appreciation, no matter what the size. However, if you have a large income or high net worth and means, a small tip might be a slap in the face. If you have means and you clearly and vocally appreciated the guides and all they did, and then leave a $50 tip after a 7 to 9 day trip, that amount would probably be insulting. If you have a fairly large income or net worth, you likely spend it on higher end restaurants, and maybe higher cost wine, drinks or desserts. You might even give a $50 tip for a dinner meal out-for ONE meal, so just consider your ability to tip and the level of service you received over the whole trip.
The largest tip any of our guides has received from one person is $1,500.00 for a 9-day trip. This was highly unusual, and was because we went way out of the way to replace her boots in the middle of the trail because her boots were falling apart, and was on top of paying for the boots and the transport out to the trail. That was extraordinary service, and an extraordinary tip. On average, guides usually receive about $75 to $125 from each guest for each guide.
At Sea to Sky, we also split the tips between the lead and assistant guides, and proportionally with any drivers. We have a strong culture of teamwork and both the lead and assistant guides play essential roles for you, so we ensure both share equally in the tips for the trip. Tips are not shared or taken by owners and managers not on your trip, unless you send it separately and specify it is for service before or after a trip.