kayaking nootka sound

Few areas provide kayakers with the cultural, natural, and historical possibilities of Nootka Sound. It was visited by Captain James Cook in 1778. Cook spent a month refitting his vessels and exploring its waters before departing. Locations throughout Nootka Sound announce the Spanish, English, and indigenous influences on its history. The indigenous peoples are believed to have inhabited this area for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans.

We have designed our kayaking itinerary for Nootka Sound to allow for a leisurely experience while exploring all that the sound has to offer. We will kayak to the cove where Cook anchored in 1778. Little has changed in two and a half centuries. We will kayak and stop at a lighthouse,explore an unique church with stained glass windows presenting European and indigenous history of Nootka Sound, and visit the traditional home of the Mowachaht peoples. There are many small islands, coves, rocky coastlines, beaches and rainforest to explore within Nootka Sound’s protected waters. The waters are rich with wildlife including grey and orca whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions, eagles, wolves, and bears.

“One of the features that made things easier for us was the pickup and drop-off at the hotel. Not having to rent a car was nice, since it would sit for most of the week anyways, as well as not having to worry about ferry schedules etc.” Robert Smyth., London, Ontario

Difficulty: Class 1/2  Novice Cost: Cdn:  $1595 +   GST 5%[Federal Tax]

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A non-refundable deposit of 30% of the trip fee is required to hold your reservation.The balance of the fee is due 60 days prior to commencement date of the trip. As a significant portion of our trip costs is already committed well in advance of each trip, there is no refund after 60 days. If payment is not received when due, Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled. Sea to Sky Expeditions will refund both deposit [less a small administrative fee] and full balance of payment, if we can replace your spot with another participant, less any non-refundable moneys from third party deposits. Cancellation notice must be received in writing. Please note that all tours in B.C and the Yukon. are subject to a 5% GST federal tax. No one may depart on a trip unless all payments and necessary documents (including medical and liability release forms) are received by Sea to Sky Expeditions. Due to the nature of operating in the wilderness and international destinations, prices are subject to change [rare]. Where necessary to change a price, we will try to provide as much notice as possible, and offer you the choice of another trip, or to cancel, with full refund. Our prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. If you choose to pay by credit card, we have to process the payment in Canadian funds. Your credit card company will automatically change it to your currency based on their exchange rate. If you paid your deposit in Canadian funds, please continue to make all further payments in Canadian funds to avoid any confusion in the daily changing exchange rate. Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to alter itineraries or cancel any trip prior to departure for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient booking levels or logistical problems that may impede trip operations. A trip cancellation due to insufficient booking levels will generally occur at least 30 days prior to departure. Sea to Sky Expeditions is not responsible for expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip (i.e. non refundable airline tickets, visa fees, equipment, etc.).


A complete itinerary along with maps, clothing and equipment list, will be issued upon registration.

Included:  Sea kayaks, paddles, PFDs [life jacket], spray skirts, dry bags, transportation from the point of origin and return, national or provincial park user fees unless otherwise stated, camping fees, cooking gear, camp stoves, tents, meal preparations, meals/snacks/beverages on the expedition, tarps, major first aid supplies, emergency radio or satellite phone, and professional guides. Meals:  All food while on the sea kayaking portion of the trip.

Excluded:  Transportation to point of origin, transfers, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary, and personal equipment.

  • 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. 

 Day 0:  Arrival in Vancouver. This denotes the day or days spent in Vancouver before the listed start date of the trip.

Day 1:  We will leave from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal aboard a B.C. Ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The crossing is about 2 hours. From Nanaimo we will drive to Campbell River where we will stop for a brief lunch. After leaving Campbell River we will travel across the island. The ride will take us through Strathcona Park, an area with some very scenic views. We should arrive at our put-in point on Tlupana Inlet by late afternoon. We will camp here and do some practice paddling in the evening.

Day 2 – 3:  We will cross the inlet to the northern part of Bligh Island and paddle along its western shore. Over the course of the next few days we will explore the many islands, coves, and beaches of the Bligh Island and the Spanish Group.

Day 4: Our plans are to paddle to Friendly Cove across Cook Channel. Captain James Cook named Friendly Cove in recognition of the treatment afforded himself and his crew during their month long stay in the sound in 1778. The cove is the location of Yuquot, and the reserve of the Mowachaht people. There is a lighthouse, cemetery, and Catholic Church to visit. The church also serves as a museum with stained glass windows depicting the history of the area, and replicas of Mowachaht house posts. We will return to our kayaks and paddle around the point to a beautiful beach facing the ocean.

Day 5: We will return to the Spanish Group, but not before visiting Resolution Cove. This cove was where Cook’s ships were anchored while he made repairs and took on provisions. There is a commemorative plaque here.

Day 6: We will return to our put-in point, taking time to explore more of the sound. We will leave and head for Gold River for lunch. After lunch we will return to Nanaimo for late afternoon ferry for the mainland. We should be back on the mainland by early evening.

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.

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