kayaking with orcas

Johnstone Strait off Vancouver Island is the ideal location to go kayaking with orca whales and observe and photograph one of nature’s truly magnificent mammals. The sleek, beautiful ebony and ivory orcas congregate in Johnstone Strait during the summer to feed, socialize and rub themselves on pebble beaches.

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.

New for 2018 – Orcas “Plus” – Due to lots of guest feedback saying they wish they’d had just a little more time “out there” enjoying Johnstone Strait and all it has to offer, we have added some 7 day itinerary dates for the upcoming summer season. This extra day and night will give us just that much more time to explore a bit further a field or do our best to find those whales one more time!


“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:  6 day – $1695 + GST  / 7 day Orcas “Plus” – $1895 + GST 5% [Federal Tax]

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7 Day July 17-23, 2021

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6 Day Aug 2-7, 2021

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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 information package for our kayaking BC trip to view the orcas will be issued upon registration, along with maps, clothing and equipment list.

Included in our Kayaking BC trip:  Sea kayaks, paddles, PFDs [life jacket], spray skirts, dry bags, transportation from Vancouver and return, 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 on our Kayaking BC trip:  All food while on the sea kayaking portion of the trip.

Excluded from our Kayaking BC trip:  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:  Option 1: –Comox Valley: (hotel details in forms issued after registration)

Our new base of operations in Courtenay BC means we are closer than ever to the amazing sea-kayaking locations on Vancouver Island. As all of our trips originate west or north of our base we highly recommend travelling directly to the Comox Valley for your adventure. This will significantly shorten your overall travel time at the beginning and end of the trip.

Option 2 – Nanaimo

Nanaimo is a good choice if you are looking for less travel time on the first and last day of the trip. Nanaimo acts as the link that “closes the loop” for our trip, it is the perfect pick up and drop off location. Also a good choice if you are planning to stay on Vancouver Island.

**Pick UP** – The ferry from the mainland will land between 10-10:30am, meaning that your guide team will pick you up at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo at approx.. 10:30am.  

Option 3 – Vancouver (+ $100 round trip) – **Pick Up** – We have arranged a private charter pickup from the Accent Inn at 6:30am. You will be driven to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal for the 8:25am ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. This is our ONLY pick up spot and time in Vancouver. If you are not staying at the Accent Inn you will either need to taxi to the Accent for 6:30am or make your own way to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal for 7:45am at the very latest (generally by taxi). You will be greeted by a Sea to Sky member who will pay for your foot passenger ferry tickets and accompany you to our van/bus on the other side**.

Next we will start the journey northwards on the Island towards our destination at Telegraph Cove. We should arrive here in the late afternoon/early evening.

Day 2 – 6 or 7:  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 & 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. We will return to our put-in point on Day 6 and return to Vancouver sometime in the 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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