Box 569 Heriot Bay, British Columbia, Canada V0P 1H0
North America: 1.800.307.3982 | Local & Overseas:

We are here to assist you in any way we can.
North America: 1.800.307.3982
Local & Overseas:
[email protected]

    Make the most of your trip

    Enrich your trip by learning about the BC coast before you get here.

    On this page you will find:

    Recommended Reading List

    Below are a selection of excellent books for learning more about BC, whales, wildlife and kayaking – and getting excited about your trip!

    Marine Mammals Of BC Book Preview


    By Ford, John K.B.

    A great field guide for identifying and learning about cetaceans as well as seals, sea lions, and sea otters that inhabit the BC coast.

    Book preview Listening to Whales

    Listening to whales: what the orcas have taught us

    By Morton, Alexandra

    Stories and recollections of a whale researcher and all that she’s learned from Orcas.

    Cedar Book Preview

    Cedar: Tree of life to the northwest coast Indians

    By Stewart, Hilary

    Brilliant descriptions and illustrations of traditional technology by a Quadra Island writer with an international stature.

    Read More

    THE LATEST FROM the Johnstone StraiT region

    Whether you’ve been on a trip with us or are getting excited for your first Spirit of the West Adventure, keep up to date with what’s happening in Johnstone Strait and surrounding areas.

    Live Orca Cam

    live Cam of orcas

    Orca Live which posts live video and audio feed from above and below the water in various locations in Johnstone Strait – watch and listen to whales from your home! Orca Live is provided by OrcaLab, a renowned whale research lab based in Johnstone Strait. More information, including links to their blog, can be found here.

    Marine Education & Research Society

    Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) which, as the name implies, conducts research and education in the Johnstone Strait area. They have an excellent blog that helps keep you up to date on all the latest research and there have been some cool discoveries of late!

    Spirit of the West’s blog stories

    Stay connected to the coast through our very own Stories page. Here we share a variety of short blog posts from reflections of a guide to how tides work. 

    Responsible Whale Watching

    The orcas, humpbacks and other marine mammals spend their days foraging, playing and socializing, and we want to keep it this way. We strongly believe that we should do everything that we can to minimize our impacts on their natural behaviour and habitat. We follow the Be Whale Wise Guidelines, which have been established to protect both the whales and kayakers and boaters from any negative interactions as well as long term, cumulative effects.

    Whale Watching Guidelineis



    While 200 meters may seem like a significant distance to put between yourself and an orca whale, it is amazing how close and large they can seem when you see a six-foot tall dorsal fin from a kayak. We must also remember that these guidelines have been established using years of research examining the distances at which orcas have been shown to be negatively impacted.

    Learn About Low-Impact Camping

    Scenic campsite at desolation sound

    We love travelling in the wilderness and being a part of the spectacular natural areas of British Columbia. Too often, however, human travels in the outdoors can have consequences, incrementally degrading the places we love. On all trips with Spirit of the West we take steps to ensure that the way we behave in the field minimizes any impact that we have on the environment.

    Best practices for backcountry travel are outlined by Leave No Trace, a non-profit organization that promotes the following 7 principles for minimum impact backcountry travel:

    1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
    2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
    3. Dispose of Waste Properly 
    4. Leave What You Find
    5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
    6. Respect Wildlife
    7. Be Considerate of Others

    Using minimum impact principles is only one way that Spirit of the West tries to live lightly on the planet. For more information on all our environmental policies and practices, please see Our Green Initiatives page.

    Feeling Fit on the Water

    BC Kayaking

    Yoga on the Water Orca Retreat

    Kayaking is a suitable activity for most fitness levels and your guide’s will give you great tips on how to paddle efficiently. To help you get the most out of your experience and feel comfortable on the water, check out these helpful links:

    Pack your Kayak like a Pro

    packing for a kayaking trip

    Sea kayak packing on beach

    Our expedition tours involve us packing our kayak with all our gear and personal items-a task that can seem daunting at first glance. But fear not! Your guides are pros at organizing and expertly distributing the load across the fleet. 

    Past guide extraordinaire, Pat, can teach you a few tips and tricks in this short video. He might even make you laugh a little along the way!