“Do you speak whale?” asked Dory the Clownfish in Finding Nemo. And the answer, we know from all our years kayaking among the Northern Resident Killer whales in British Columbia’s Johnstone Strait, is, “Maybe.”
We say, “maybe,” because, according to researchers who study the resident Killer Whale communities off Vancouver Island, each clan of Orcas that populate our waters have their own distinct dialect that are as different from each other as Greek is to Russian.
Traditional First Nation totem found at U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay
Admittedly, North Vancouver Island is one of British Columbia’s best kept secrets — a short day’s drive, or an even shorter one-hour flight from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver or Victoria, it is unspoiled, untamed, rugged, raw …
We’ve entered into prime booking season – the time of year when our inbox fills up with requests from travellers from around the world hoping to join us at Orca Camp to kayak with whales.
When whales are near, paddles are down and cameras are up to capture the moment!
Over the years people have learned …
You may wonder, just where is the best place to go kayaking in BC? Well, the entire coast is a pretty remarkable what, with its rugged, rocky shores, and countless islands, inlets and bays. Our robust populations of whales and sea lions, seals and dolphins only add to the pleasure of kayaking in British Columbia. We may be biased, then, when we answer the question: The best place to kayak in British Columbia is none other than the Johnstone Strait, …
We’ve just bid adieu to our most recent group of Orca Campers – folks who’ve travelled from around the world and across Canada to the shores of North Vancouver Island, seeking the sort of mild adventures we offer – kayaking with whales, wilderness hikes and exploring the natural wonders of the Johnstone Strait – all in the realm of the Orca. It’s been a hectic and magical first few weeks – the kind that leaves you smiling, content and exhausted at the end of each adventure-filled day.
Expanding our Horizons
While kayaking with Orcas is the highlight of every trip, this year we’ve expanded our horizons offering a guided motorized whale-watching expedition at the beginning of each Orca Camp trip. Departing from Port McNeill, our guests take in the wonders of the Johnstone Strait, searching for marine life in a much broader region than we could ever possibly cover by kayak.
We’re just a few trips into the season but we’ve been amazed at the encounters we’ve had with Stellar Sea Lion colonies, Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Orcas and Humpback whales. During this week’s outing aboard the Naiad Explorer we sat mesmerized for what seemed like hours (but wasn’t) watching Humpbacks milling about at the surface of the water using their pectoral fins to scoop Sockeye, Coho and Pink Salmon into their gaping, open mouths. We captured it all on video, and just as soon as we can render it down we’ll post it on our Facebook page.
Meanwhile Back at Camp
Bright, sunny days gave way to overcast and moonless nights last week, creating an inky black so dark it’s impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you – the perfect conditions for a laser light show – this one put on by the phosphorescent organisms found in our local waters. This naturally occurring phenomena makes the ocean glow, casting the waters in a soft, shimmering light. At the stroke of midnight and under the cover of darkness we launched our kayaks from the beach and watched, enchanted, as schools of salmon swam all around us creating arcs of light reminiscent of laser light beams. We were only 200 metres from the shore and it made us wonder: who needs fireworks when Mother Nature puts on such a great show?
Are you Ready to see it for Yourself?
We still have a few select spots open this season – it’s not too late to experience the magic of Orca Camp this year. Book on-line or give our office a call – we’ll keep a tent open for you!