Orca Camp – Where Kids can Still be Kids

Do you remember those days — they may be long ago — those days when you’d be sent outside to play and told not to come back until your mom called you? Or, do you remember the first time you ate marshmallows off a stick, fresh out of the campfire, their charred exterior giving way to an ooey-gooey soft centre? Or do you recall heading off to explore a deserted beach or forest trail, searching for ancient treasure? Did you ever lay out under a star-filled night sky and try to find the Big Dipper? Or do you recall what it felt like to snuggle into a warm sleeping bag, listening to the sounds of a lake or ocean lulling you to sleep, secure in the knowledge that there are grown-ups nearby, but just far enough away? Those days, though they may be long ago for you, still take place every summer for the families who join us at Orca Camp to explore North Vancouver Island by kayak.

Roasting marshmallows for S'mores - a nightly tradition

Roasting marshmallows for S’mores – a nightly tradition

Off the Grid Family Vacation

We love when families join us at Orca Camp to kayak with whales. There really is nothing quite like watching youngsters who always seem to be plugged into one device or another, realize that once they get out to Orca Camp, they’re completely off the grid. But it only takes seeing a bull Orca pass by en route to Robson Bight, the splash of a Humpback landing a perfect belly flop, or an eagle fishing for its dinner in front of our base camp for kids to realize that the reality in front of them may just be better than any virtual reality game they brought with them.

Before long — usually by dinner — they’ve forgotten they even brought their games. Instead, kids are off exploring our crescent-shaped beach on the hunt for kindling for the fire, or searching out a perfectly flat stone to practice skipping along the ocean’s surface, or building the perfect Inukshuk. After dinner they’re hanging out by the camp fire, supervising S’mores production — making sure the marshmallows are soft enough to squish between two graham crackers before dipping the whole thing in chocolate. And once the stars come out, they’re touring the constellations above, with our kayak guides leading the way to the Big Dipper and beyond.

Who built it best? Sisters compete in an Inukshuk building contest

Who built it best? Sisters compete in an Inukshuk building contest

Kayaking with Kids

Whether or not kids have any kayaking experience is irrelevant at Orca Camp. Our guides are fantastic at showing the youngest in our groups the best ways to paddle. And sometimes we let them in on the secret: Mom or Dad is paddling in the seat right behind, so feel free to let them do the hard work when you need a break. Oh, and Mom & Dad don’t need kayaking experience either — we’ll teach them everything they need to know as well.

Rafted up together to watch whales pass nearby

Rafted up together to watch whales pass nearby

Creating Enduring Family Memories

Something magical happens to people at Orca Camp. Transformative things. Restorative things. Stretching your boundaries is part of that experience, learning new skills, connecting with others, and communing in nature are all part of it too. Fresh, ocean air, wholesome food, and days spent kayaking with whales have a way of mysteriously connecting people, providing lasting memories and stories that will be shared around the family table for years to come.

Yes, Orca Camp is the kind of place where kids can still be kids — and isn’t that what we all want to hold onto these days? The innocence of childhood. The wonder of seeing wildlife in their natural, wild habitat. The joys of an unhurried day. The freedom to explore the magic of a tidal pool, or the majesty of an old-growth forest, or the pebbled stones of an ancient beach, rubbed smooth by water and time.

Sisters celebrate crossing the Strait for the first time

Sisters celebrate crossing the Strait for the first time

40th Season at Orca Camp

This is the season to experience Orca Camp with your whole family. It’s our 40th year kayaking Johnstone Strait, but we still remember what it was like our first time, all those years ago, when we weren’t much older than children ourselves. Join us won’t you? You may just be reminded of your carefree summers as a child, but more importantly, you’ll be giving that gift to your own children.

No More Than 10 Guests at a Time

Orca Camp welcomes families with children over the age of eight and limits group size to no more than 10 guests at a time. Book on-line, or email us for the latest availability and rates.

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March 7, 2016