Remote 5-Star Glamping - west coast kayaking and whale watching
Blackfish Sound, British Columbia
Everyone, focus on whales and diverse paddling
* Kayaking trips & tours are priced and charged in Canadian dollars and are subject to 5% GST and optional $20 sustainability fee. Please see our terms and conditions for full payment and fees information.
AVAILABLE TO BOOK for the 2021 season onwards.
BC’s Best camping and whale watching
Imagine beautiful, big white tents set against the backdrop of towering fir trees and the blues and greens of the ocean lapping at your doorstep. The sounds of silence, interrupted only by the occasional blow of passing whales or the songs of the birds as they wake with the sun. Extraordinary kayaking at the edge of the Broughton Archipelago. Exclusive boat access to our private Swanson Island location. After nearly two years of work we are happy to share this new glamping whale watching experience with you.
Blackfish Sound (named for the distinctive black and white coloration of the killer whales that ply these waters) is the heart of orca and humpback territory on northern Vancouver Island and on the edge of the Broughton Archipelago. Sandwiched between the mainland mountains and Vancouver Island, tidal currents stir up the water column and create an environment rich with nutrients and oxygen. Abundant marine life of all shapes and sizes make their home here, from the smallest crustacean to the largest whales. From our camp, we have the opportunity to look out into the open waters of the Sound and paddle among the small islands and narrow passages, an ideal combination for the wildlife enthusiast.
This 4-day tour is really the premier way to experience the best of what Canada’s west coast has to offer. Travel by boat to our exclusive camp, kayak each day to experience the coastal beauty up close and get out there with a motorized whale watching tour to help ensure wildlife sightings. Each day your hosts and guides will share their love and passion for the coast and kayaking with you. After a hearty and healthy breakfast (and of course hot coffee and tea), we head off in our kayaks to explore the many nooks and crannies of the shoreline. Keep your senses alert for the tell-tale blow of some of the area’s more famous residents like orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins and porpoise. On day 3 we’ll be picked up at camp for a 3-hour trip in a covered boat to look further afield for wildlife. Top off these perfect days in an idyllic setting with amazing food, laughter, good company and a soak in the wood-fired hot tub over-looking the ocean. Then head off to your spacious tent and comfortable bed for a good night’s rest. Of course, you can always roast a few treats over the glowing campfire before you head to bed, borrow a book from our extensive coastal library, play a board game with friends or chat with our friendly, knowledgeable naturalist guides too.
Amazing Glamping Experience
Tents are large 10×12′ (3×3.6m), bright and spacious cotton canvas tents made here on Vancouver Island. They are 8′ (2.4m) high at the peak so have ample room for standing up and moving around with ease. The screened windows and front door provide sweeping views of the forest and/or ocean. The tents are perched off the ground on cedar platforms, helping to protect the delicate ecosystem below. Inside your tents are 2 twin beds which can be pushed together to make a king size if desired. These beds are handmade by our wonderful crew with locally milled red cedar and beach driftwood accents. The beds each have a 6-inch thick soya foam mattress, 2 pillows (one soft and one firm to ensure a good night’s sleep), crisp white linens, a warm duvet and fleece blankets for those cooler nights. Bedside tables, crafted from local wood, hold a lamp for reading and a hot water bottle to help take the chill off when you crawl into your bed to dream about what’s in store for the morning.
The Best Place for Whale Watching in British Columbia
In addition to orcas, we are lucky to share the ecosystem with humpback whales, black bears (it is not uncommon to see black bears foraging along the shores for seafood during low tide), deer, cougars, shore and seabirds, minks, river otters, dolphins and porpoise – to say nothing of the abundant, vibrant and colourful inter-tidal life one can see below the surface. Witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is truly breathtaking. Our camp is situated in arguably one of the best areas for viewing whales on the coast. The humpback whales in all their glory are coming back to this area in truly impressive numbers after having been subject to intense hunting in years past. The population of humpback whales in the area now means that we are fortunate to view these gentle giants almost every tour (we never like to guarantee wildlife, as it is just that wild, but chances are good).
Your Exclusive Camping and Whale Watching Experience
What makes this camp so special? If we were to sum it up, here are some of the highlights:
- Best area for viewing orcas and humpbacks in the wild
- Exclusive boat access-only camp on a private island
- Explore the coastal environment by kayak with our wonderful guides
- Large bright spacious tents, comfortable beds, warm duvets
- Motorized whale and wildlife watching trip as part of the package
- Hot tub overlooking the ocean
- Hot shower with ocean views
- Gourmet camp food prepared for you, with a focus on local and organic
- Attention given to the smallest details to make for the perfect trip
- Responsible ecotourism, sustainably run for the long-term
What’s cooking? Our Delicious wilderness cuisine
We just have to mention it. One of the perks that come with the glamping site is a well-established kitchen for our fantastic chefs to prepare your food! We use mostly organic fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare gourmet meals, topped off with home baking. We also provide 24-hour snacks just in case you get a hankering for something late at night. It is a Spirit of the West Adventures guarantee that you will never go hungry, even after a day’s paddle in the fresh air. On the first evening we feature a traditional wild fish barbecue and from here the creative, tasty and hearty meals keep coming. This is not your typical camping food! Selected local BC and Chilean wines (4 bottles per night to share for all guests) are served with appetizers and dinner.
- Professional guiding service
- All kayaking equipment (including kayaks, PFDs, paddles, pumps, ropes, dry bags and sponges)
- Hydrophone for listening to the whales
- Meals (morning snack day 1 to lunch day 4) including selected Chilean and BC local wine for our guests to share (4 bottles per night)
- Everything you need for the perfect glamping experience: walk-in canvas tents on wooden platforms, real beds (2 twin or 1 king size, thick soy foam mattresses, warm blankets, 2 pillows, linens), bath towel, flashlights/headlamps, hot water bottle, library of natural history books, camp binoculars
- Whale watching trip on covered vessel
- Return water taxi service from Quadra Island
- Park and land use permits
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
Not included in the tour cost are accommodation before or after the kayaking portion of your trip;
- Flights, airport transfers, ferries, taxis
- Travel/medical insurance
- Alcoholic or carbonated beverages
- Rain gear
- Personal items (toiletries, clothing, etc.)
Rain gear may be rented if you prefer not to travel with it (please reserve in advance; may be booked online with your trip reservation).
Spirit of the West operates in the unceded traditional territory of the Mamalilikulla-Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em, 'Namgis, Tlowitsis, Nuu-chah-nulth, We Wai Kai, Homalco, Klahoose and Heiltsuk First Nations.
Our adventure begins the moment we step off the docks of Campbell River and Quadra Island onto our high speed water taxi. Relax in comfort as we whisk you up the scenic waterways of the Inside Passage to our remote wilderness camp on the edge of Blackfish Sound.
WHEN: DAY PRIOR AT 6PM, WHERE: HERIOT BAY INN ON QUADRA ISLAND
This meeting gives us a chance to answer any questions you may have and for you to meet your guides and fellow kayakers. Your guides will go over the logistics of the tour and answer any concerns you may have. If you cannot make it to the meeting just be sure to call the day before departure to confirm your arrival. This allows us to confirm the exact departure time and location, or to alert you if there are have been any last minute changes. For details on how to get here, please see our Getting Here page with travel info.
WHEN: DAY 1, WHERE: QUADRA ISLAND AT 8.15 AM, or CAMPBELL RIVER Way West Coastal Ventures AT 8.30 AM
You can meet either on Quadra Island or at Way West Coastal Ventures & Water taxi in Campbell River. If meeting in Campbell River, please call our office to let us know. Spirit of the West Adventures is based on Quadra Island (a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River) and this is where our tour starts. We highly recommend making Quadra Island a part of your vacation plans. Our beautiful island has a whole different and laid back feel to it, complete with endless opportunities for outdoor activities, beaches to relax on, amazing accommodations and great local artisans.
Rise and shine ready for fun and adventure. After meeting our water taxi and a safety briefing, our captain takes us up Discovery Passage and safely through the infamous ‘Seymour Narrows’, renowned for its treacherous tidal flows and whirlpools. En route, sightings of marine life such as porpoises, dolphins, sea lions and whales are common. After the 2 1/2 hour journey we arrive at our remote wilderness base camp on Blackfish Sound. After settling into our new surroundings and having lunch we will have a kayak orientation and discuss safety procedures before setting off on an afternoon paddle. We will return in time for a fresh wild salmon dinner (alternatives of course for those who do not eat fish). Enjoy the sunset from the hot tub before retiring to rest for more fun in the morning.
After a hearty camp breakfast, we will meet to discuss our plans for each day. Our route and schedule will depend on weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities and group preferences. Generally, we set out in our kayaks after breakfast and paddle to one of the area’s many pocket beaches for a picnic lunch before paddling ‘home’ again in time for some relaxation time before dinner. On our way, we’ll take breaks for stretching and snacks, and we always take lots of time to explore the intricate shoreline. For the very brave there is always the option of a dip into the chilly waters of Blackfish Sound before a restorative soak in the hot tub!
This morning we’ll be met by our covered vessel for a 3-hour journey further into Blackfish Sound, Johnstone Strait or Queen Charlotte Strait, giving you the opportunity to explore areas beyond the reach of our kayaks. We’ll return in time for lunch, followed by an afternoon kayaking the nearby waters and islands.
This is our last day of exploration. After a final morning paddle we will pack up our things and soak up the last bit of tranquility before the water taxi arrives to transport us back to Quadra Island and the real world once again.
Our approximate return time to Quadra Island is between 3-5pm, however, due to the number of variables in wilderness travel we recommend that you plan to stay in the area for this night to avoid unnecessarily stressful complications should our return be delayed by something out of our control. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your travel plans in more detail.
Where can I find updates to CORONAVIRUS from Spirit of the West?
Please click here to read through our current updates on coronavirus, travel disruptions, practices while on trip and more flexible terms & conditions due to the COVID-19.
To read our general Terms and Conditions, please click here.
We also published a Travel Insurance 101 which will help you answer basic travel insurance questions, such as ‘What is travel insurance?’ and ‘Why do I need it?’
Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any further questions. We are here to assist you every day from 9am onwards.
What is the minimum age required to join our tours?
We cater to all ages of adventurers. Kids age 5 to 12 are encouraged to join the Family Orca Tours which have been designed with the needs of younger kayakers. For most of our other regularly scheduled tours we prefer a minimum age of 12, except for the Great Bear Rainforest trip, which has a minimum age of 14. If your child is almost 12 or your family has a good deal of experience kayaking and camping we do occasionally make exceptions. We like to assess each case individually. We can also organize private, custom style adventures. Feel free to call us and we would be happy to discuss the options.
What is the average age of our guests?
We have guests from age 5 and up on our family tours and ages 12 to 85 joining our regularly scheduled tours. The average age ranges between age 30 to 65. Each tour and tour date is different, but we usually get a good mix of ages. For those concerned with being in ‘their older years’ or anyone unsure of which tour fits them best, we welcome you to contact us and we will be happy to help you find the perfect trip.
Are there any single supplement fees if I am travelling on my own?
There are NO single supplements. We encourage solo travelers to join us and often have several solo travelers on each tour. It should be no problem to have your own tent and you will have access to both single and double kayaks.
Can you accommodate food allergies/special diets?
Our food preparation crew are masters at accommodating dietary restrictions. We are able to offer gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy light and vegan menus with prior notice. Other dietary requests may involve additional charges and need to be discussed in advance with our food crew. We are NOT a nut-free facility.
Will I comfortably fit in the kayaks?
If you are over 6ft (182cms) tall, if you are on the more petite side of things, have larger hips or weigh over 250lbs (115 kg) we have certain kayaks that may work best for you. Please give us a call and we can ensure we have the appropriate kayak available for you.
What is included in the tour costs?
We supply everything that you will need for kayaking and camping except for a few personal items such as your clothing, toiletries, and rain gear (rain gear can be rented if needed). Please note that bedding is provided on the Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour.
We pick you up free of charge from your accommodation on Quadra Island on the morning the trip starts and we will drop you off there when the tour is finished.
We provide all meals from morning snack on day one to lunch on the last day. Non-alcoholic beverages including a wide variety of teas, coffee, juices, hot chocolate are provided. Meals on the Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour are paired with wine. Alcohol is not provided on any other tours and you are welcome to bring your favourite wine, beer or pop to enjoy responsibly. There is a grocery and liquor store very close to the location of the pre-trip meeting if you would like to pick up extra beverages on the evening before the tour. There are no additional costs once on our tour unless you wish to purchase souvenirs.
What do I need to bring?
We send you a complete packing list a few weeks prior to your tour to help you prepare. If you would like to see what type of clothing and items we recommend please click here and select your tour. (Please note the packing lists (page 4) between tours varies so choose the correct trip for the most accurate information).
How much kayaking experience is required?
Our adventures are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities from first-timer to expert paddler. We have several different styles and lengths of tours so that everyone can find the perfect trip.
If you are new to kayaking and camping check out our base- camping style tours- the Whales and Wilderness Glamping and Johnstone Strait Ultimate tours.
If you are looking for more rustic camping and more paddling check out our expedition style tours; the Johnstone Strait Expedition, Orca Lite, Nuchatlitz, Desolation Sound or Great Bear Rainforest Tours.
Do I need to be in great shape for this trip?
The majority of our adventures are not considered to be overly strenuous or physically demanding and therefore do not require a high level of fitness. Each tour is slightly different in its demands so if you are concerned, please do contact us. As a general rule, you need to be capable of a few hours of moderate exercise each day and be comfortable with the uneven ground of a wilderness environment. The Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour can be suited to folks with mildly limited mobility or those who wish to be in the wilderness, but not do any kayaking (you can always choose to stay at camp on our base-camping style tours). Please keep in mind that good general health will go a long way towards the enjoyment of your tour. Most important though is an adventurous spirit.
How much paddling do we do each day?
Paddling time will vary depending on the trip, our destination, weather conditions and the group’s abilities and desires. Generally, we travel between 3-5 hours a day on our base-camping style tours (the Johnstone Strait Ultimate and Whales and Wilderness Tours) and slightly longer (4-6 hours a day) on all of our other tours, not including breaks and lunch. We set a pace which is manageable and enjoyable for all.
Is there electricity at the camp?
We have a limited supply of electricity supplied by solar panels and a battery bank. When the weather is nice, we have more power; when it’s not, we have less. Each of the tents have LED lighting to see at night. Everyone should be able to charge a camera battery or phone at least once while on the trip and possibly more, but it’s wise to be conservative with your batteries to ensure the power is there when you need it (avoid using the display unless you need it, don’t review photos in your tent at night, keep your camera off when not using it, etc.).
How many people sleep in each tent? If I'm traveling solo can I have my own tent?
The tents are designed for two adults, or two adults and up to two children. Each tent contains two twin beds that can be pushed together to make a king size bed if you prefer. We have 8 tents at this camp and it usually is no problem to have your own tent. The exception would be if we have a large number of solo travelers joining your particular date. If this was the case we would do our best to pair you up with a suitable tent mate. Call us in the office if this is a concern and you would like to see what the composition of the group on particular dates is like.
How stable are the kayaks? What is the likelihood of flipping over?
The kayaks we use are stable and designed for comfort. Your guides will give you through instruction on how to safely use and enjoy the kayaks and what to do in case of a capsize. For those concerned about capsizing, the double kayaks are slightly more stable than the singles and we have a variety of both singles and doubles on every trip. The likelihood of a capsize is minimal and if it does happen your well-trained guides will be there before you know it to help.
What happens if my kayak flips over?
In the rare event of a capsize, all of our guides are trained in rescue procedures in order to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. At this point, we will take you to the nearest shoreline to change into some warm clothing and carry on with our journey when you are ready. While we are out on the water, it is of the utmost importance that the group stays together for safety.
If the weather turns bad? Will I be comfy and warm?
Our weather in the Pacific Northwest is generally pleasant from May through until September. In the Johnstone Strait area, the weather will generally be cooler than what you may see on the forecast for Campbell River – sometimes by as much as 10 degrees. Fog is very common on summer mornings, however, this nearly always clears at midday. Although it is uncommon, it can rain in the summer. Be prepared for any type of weather and you will stay comfortable. Layering is the key. It allows you to put on or take off layers while on the water if you need to. If you are very concerned about the weather then we recommend our base-camping style tours as these campsites have covered eating and lounge areas as well as dry tents to come home to at the end of every day. On our expedition style tours, we carry tarps but we are a little more at the mercy of mother nature in these more rustic style campsites.
What sort of wildlife might we see?
The diversity and abundance of wildlife in the Pacific Northwest are one of our great privileges. From the rich marine life of colourful plants and invertebrates, seabirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, mink, otter, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales, to the land animals of deer, raccoons, cougars, wolves, and bears, we are bound to see something.
For those with an eye for eagles take note that they are most prominent in the earlier months before the salmon migration in the late summer/early fall.
For those keen to see humpback whales- you are in luck. The population of humpbacks in our area is doing well and we are fortunate to often see these whales any time of the year.
If Orcas are your main priority then we recommend traveling between mid-July and mid-September. While it is possible to see orcas outside of these times, we see them with the greatest abundance and frequency during this peak period.
Please just remember that wildlife is just that wild and we cannot control sightings. That said the whales are the icing on the cake in this stunning, rich and diverse area.
Where is the best place to see orcas/killer whales?
On our tours to Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, which includes the Whales and Wilderness Glamping Tour, the Johnstone Strait Ultimate, Family Orca Tours and Orca Lite tours, we stand a high chance of seeing whales, especially between mid-July and mid-September.
Understandably we cannot guarantee what nature will dictate, but we can tell you that this area has one of the highest concentrations of Killer Whales on earth and this is where they spend their summer holiday. Some trips view the whales from the kayaks, some while traveling on our water taxi or from our campsites on the shore and some see all of the above.
How close to we paddle to whales & other wildlife?
We do our very best to provide awesome sightings of whales but all the while ensuring that we do not disrupt the natural behaviour of all the wildlife we encounter. We abide by the Canadian whale watching regulations which means we do not approach killer whales (orcas) any closer than 200 meters (656 ft) and all other cetaceans no closer than 100 meters (328 ft).
To learn more about how we do our best to minimize our impacts on whales check out nimmsa.org the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association. Your trip fees help to fund whale research and conservation efforts through the NIMMSA fund which Spirit of the West Contributes too.
What is the camp setup like?
If you are looking for the most comfortable camping experience, this tour is your best choice. The Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour provides large walk-in canvas wall style tents, real beds with organic soy foam mattresses, pillows of various levels of firmness, warm bedding, a hot shower, wood-fired hot tub, a professional chef and a million little touches to enhance your wilderness experience.
Where do we wash and are there toilets?
Johnstone Strait Ultimate and the Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour have hot freshwater showers and established pit style outhouses.
On all other tours, there is very little fresh water to be found. Therefore, seawater is your best bet for washing up. Please use biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap brands.
Toilet facilities are not common in most wilderness settings, although some areas may have pit toilets. We also carry a portable toilet system. Your guide will generally designate an area that works for ensuring your privacy. We are very accustomed to making sure all of our guests feel comfortable and informed – please feel free to ask us any questions you might have, before or during your tour.
Where can I leave my vehicle while on tour?
Free parking will be available for your vehicle while on tour with us. Many of the accommodations on Quadra Island also have free parking included with your stay. Parking details will be discussed further at the pre-trip meeting.
Where do I have to get to to start this trip and how long does the boat ride take into camp?
We are based on Quadra Island, BC, and this is the departure point for the Whales and Wilderness Glamping trip. We hold a pre-trip meeting at the Heriot Bay Inn on Quadra the evening prior to the trip, and on the morning the trip departs we will pick you up at your accommodation on Quadra Island at no charge. Please see our Getting Here page for more details on how to get to Quadra. The boat trip to camp takes about 2.5-3 hours, depending on the weather. Our water taxi is a comfortable ride with a bathroom on board.
What about kayak preferences? Do you provide double and single kayaks?
We use a mix of single and double kayaks on every trip. Double kayaks offer great advantages for carrying cargo, matching paddler abilities, or sharing the load if someone is feeling a little tired one day. If there are a lot of people on one trip that prefer singles then we take turns in the double(s), so we ask that everyone have a bit of flexibility with regard to what they paddle.
If I would like to tip the guides, what is the industry standard?
If you would like to express your appreciation to the guides through a gratuity, such recognition would be enthusiastically received. The industry standard for tipping is approx. 10% per person of the trip cost. All tips received will be collected and disbursed amongst your guides & basecrew by the trip leader.
We're proud of our great reviews - but don't just take our word for it, see what people are saying over on Trip Advisor. View Reviews
"Exceeded Expectations! Highly Recommend!"
It was the trip of a lifetime! Everything was perfect. I'm from the West Coast and have seen lots of whales in my lifetime... or so I thought. We saw many humpacks, pacific white sided dolphins, orcas, porpoises, eagles, and sea lions.
We fell asleep to the sounds of whales and sea lions at night. We soaked in the hot tub after long days of kayaking and played with the bio luminescence at night. Dolphins interacted with humpbacks and killer whales and multiple pods of dolphins road our wake and swam all around us. It was like heaven for a whale enthusiast like myself!
Ash and Rowan were fantastic guides with incredible knowledge and positive vibes. The kayaking everyday was easy and enjoyable for everyone. Neil is an incredible chef.
I have done a lot of travel throughout Canada and I think this tops it all - a big thank-you!"
"The Best of BC: Wild nature, wonderful people. It doesn't get better than this!"
"Whales and Glamping! Who could ask for more? This was an amazing experience. We hadn't even got in our kayaks when our guide (Kevin) had to rush onto the water to rescue a drowning juvenile bald eagle. Scooped onto the deck of his kayak via a paddle under his butt, he dried out for several hours on the shore and recovered. Hard to top that, but we did. So many humpback whale viewings, sea lions, convocations of eagles and orcas. The campsite is located in a truly outstanding location, hot showers, gourmet food and fabulous staff rounded out our trip. If you are looking for an outdoors trip, this is it."
"If ever you want to kayak and get up close and personal to whales and orcas and dolphins and... Followed by perhaps a cold swim and or a hot tub and comfortable beds and great food, this is the trip for you. Oh, and fabulous guides as well!"
"My husband purchased this trip for us both as last year's Christmas present - it turned-out to be the best Christmas present ever! I'd never been to coastal British Columbia before, and the scenery is beyond amazing. And the wildlife is unbelievable - I can't believe how much we saw in just four days. This company is very organized, the trips are well-run, and the guides are great. Also, the food is amazing. We got lucky with great weather and nice people on the trip, but the rest is definitely due to the great team at Spirt of the West. It's also worth sticking around the area a few days after the trip - there's so much to see and do!"
"From the moment you start communicating with the SOTW team, you understand immediately why they have an excellent rating. They were informative when I was researching, helpful when I had complex travel needs, incredibly FUN and safety minded. We had all gear and full delicious meals and lots of adventures. I had such an amazing time getting to know the guides (truly incredible) and the fellow guests (a fun bunch for sure!). We had lots of hours on the water and such unbelievable sightings of wildlife. I was quite sad and emotional to end the week - saying good-bye knowing that this moment would not likely be repeated. This is truly an incredible way to take a vacation, get off the grid and reconnect in many ways."
"Beautiful scenery, expert guides, great equipment and DELICIOUS food. I can't rate Spirit of the West highly enough - and what a beautiful are of the world to explore in a kayak!
We saw lots of wildlife (including humpbacks and eagles), our guides were exceptional - thank you!
I've done broadly similar trips in Finland and Ontario in the past - as good as they were, they don't even compare to Spirit of the West. Not sure how my future vacations will ever live up to this amazing experience!"
"The water taxi ride to and from the base camp was so much fun, especially on the way home. The White-sided dolphins played in the water beside us for 15 minutes, jumping and chasing us. A highlight of the trip."
"Without a doubt the best trip I have ever taken! I'm still in Awe and Wonder."
"It was incredible to see orcas, humpback whales, minkes, eagles... the wildlife was superb. Our guides were awesome: very friendly, helpful, hard working but also relaxed. They created a great group atmosphere. I would highly recommend this trip... a once in a lifetime experience."
"Awesome! I love you guys! Want to bring my daughter. Thank you so much for a trip I will never forget! Thank you all!"
“A Whale of a Time... again!”
"Best honeymoon ever"
"Outstanding outfitter for sea kayak expeditions! Everything was organized top notch starting with getting us there, keeping us safe, well fed and teaching us all about the sea, marine life and environment.
Our guides were fantastic!
"Over the top! I hate writing reviews but Spirit if the West certainly deserves an EXCELLENT PLUS. This was my 4th trip with Spirit of the West and as usual nothing on the coast can compare with the experience!"
"Everyone very helpful and patient. Food, kayaking, accommodations all great. People before trip on phone very helpful. A trip we will always remember. Thank you!"
"We both really enjoyed the trip. The guides, area and wildlife were amazing. Great balance between organized time and "own time" Guides were very accommodating, relaxed, made all feel welcome!"
Heather and Mark Elliott
"Experience of a life time. I will be back with my family. Your dedication to your company 'shined' through your staff."
"The trip was all around awesome.
This guides and organization was phenomenal."
"So impressed with the guides depth of knowledge and how the trip is run so smoothly. Base camp is a wonderful place. Would be happy to wake up every morning there."
THE CAMP & FOOD
"Friendly guides, fun, great food, and group was super too! Hot tub and shower unreal! "
"With my dietary limitations, everyone at Spirit of the West went out of their way to make delicious food. I have never gotten service like that before."
“Great trip, great camp, never seen a beautiful hot tub in such a beautiful scenery.”
“Awesome! Most luxurious camping trip ever with fun and knowledgeable staff!”
The food… ahhh yum. The hot tub and tent amenities were luxurious! Overall I feel very satisfied and unwilling to leave! Thank you to the great staff for a wonderful experience!”
“Fantastic overall. Wonderful food and accommodations top notch (hot tub!) Amazing guides, great pace. Essentially a perfect trip. Bascamp, food, guides are all amazing. Keep it up! Thank you for being awesome!”
"Beyond expectations - deluxe guiding, food and hot tub! The kayaking was amazing, The wildlife just incredible!"
"A truly wonderful and inspiring trip. I slept under the stars last night to hear the orcas and was lucky enough to see an incredible asteroid shower. A once in a lifetime experience. (Although I hope to repeat it soon!)"
(John) Brian Weir
"OMG!! Saw everything, whales, humpback, bear, eagle, seals. The guides were amazing, knowledgeable, funny and friendly! The guests were great everyone got along. Felt like we were all old friends."
On our Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour we are transported to our wilderness base camp by boat which is equipped to carry all of our passengers, plenty of gear and is specially designed for safety and comfort. With this style of tour we are not restricted in the amount of luggage and gear we can bring as our gear does not have to fit in the kayaks. Although your gear will be stored in the cabin of the boat, you may want to waterproof some items, in the unlikely event that it may get wet while being transferring to and from the boat.
At our glamping paradise on Swanson Island we have dry bags (waterproof bags) that will be given to you for use while kayaking. The small dry bags are great for cameras, sunscreen, and other small personal items that you would like to have near you. The larger ones will be for your spare clothing for the day.
Please note that our summer temperatures from July until September are generally quite comfortable with temperatures from 18-30 degrees Celsius / 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not uncommon to find mid day summers hot enough to want to cool off in the ocean! June and later September will have cooler temperatures, and at ANY TIME OF YEAR we can have rain & wind, with temperatures occasionally as low as 13 C / 55 F. So, we say it is best to come prepared for any type of weather.
PLEASE NOTE WHAT WE PROVIDE:
- All safety & kayaking gear
- Everything you need for the perfect glamping experience:
– WALK-IN CANVAS TENTS ON WOODEN PLATFORMS
– REAL BEDS (2 TWIN SIZE OR 1 KING SIZE)
– THICK SOY FOAM MATTRESSES
– WARM BLANKETS, 2 PILLOWS, LINENS
– BATH TOWELS
– HOT WATER BOTTLE
– MOSQUITO REPELLENT (Insects are generally not a significant concern for us on the coast)
– TEA/COFFEE MUG
– DRY BAGS
– LIBRARY OF NATURAL HISTORY BOOKS
– CAMP BINOCULARS (you may wish to bring your own pair for paddling)
The following is a list of suggested items to bring along. If you have any concerns or questions about the list, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Wetshoes – A pair that can get wet such as sturdy full strapped sandals (such as Keens, Tevas or Chacos), neoprene booties, crocs, or rubber boots. Please avoid flip-flops/thongs. Spirit of the West has a wide range of rubber boot sizes (youth – men’s size 13) available to borrow free of charge if you don’t have your own wet shoes or have limited space in your luggage. There will be an opportunity to try on boots at the pre-trip meeting.
- Camp footwear – An additional pair of footwear that you plan to keep dry. Runners, trainers or light hikers are great.
- Hat – A sun hat such as a baseball hat or full-brimmed hat as well as a wool or fleece warm hat for evenings or cooler days.
- Sunglasses & sunscreen – A must for protection from sun and glare off of the water. Safety cords on your glasses are highly recommended.
- Camera – In a waterproof bag or case, or you may use our dry bags.
- Medication – If you are bringing medication please ensure that… 1) The name and expiry date of drug is on the container; 2) You have the detailed instructions of your dosage and frequency; 3) It is packed in a water and sunproof container; 4) You bring a full extra dosage of your medication in a separate container to leave with your guide, in case you misplace or lose yours, or are weathered in. If you are flying, please pack all necessary medication in your carry-on luggage. This will help eliminate some stress should your checked bags be misplaced in transit.
- Ziploc bags or other large plastic bag – We will provide you with dry bags, but these come in handy for transporting laundry and/or wet clothing.
- Gloves (optional) – Biking gloves work well to protect your hands from blisters. If you are really concerned abut cold hands, and are paddling in the spring or fall seasons, you may want to invest in neoprene gloves or pogies.
- Beverages – We supply a wide range of teas and coffee as well as juices. You are welcome to bring along soda pops or alcoholic beverages if you choose to. Please note however that we do expect our guests to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and strictly enforce a no alcohol on the water policy.
- Personal items – Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap/shampoo, washcloth, feminine hygiene products, hairbrush, etc.
- Book or journal
- Fishing gear (optional) – Make sure you have a valid B.C. fishing license. These can be purchased on-line at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/licence-permis/index-eng.htm
- Gratuity for your guides – at your own discretion.
Clothing should be suitable for the time of year, bearing in mind that it could become cold and wet at any time of year. Layering is the best way to regulate body temperature and maintain warmth. We suggest avoiding cotton (except for those hot days). Cotton has no insulation value when wet. An inner material that wicks moisture from the body and gives a comfortable dry feeling even while wet is the best first layer (Polypropylene, Lycra, Nylon, Polyester). A synthetic material such as fleece or pile makes the best second layer to provide warmth. Wool is also suitable.
- Rain jacket & rain pants – For the unexpected nasty weather. To test your waterproofness – jump in the shower and see if you stay dry! (we’re serious!). If you would like to rent/hire rain gear from us, please reserve in advance of the tour. Tops and bottoms can be rented for $25 plus tax for the set.
- Light windproof jacket (optional)
- Long-sleeved non-cotton shirt (synthetic/wool) – 2
- Long pants – 1 pair of fleece or warm comfortable pants. 2 lighter pairs made of a quick drying, synthetic fabric. Athletic style pants (running or yoga) are generally appropriate. Jeans are NOT recommended for paddling.
- Shorts – 1-2 quick dry nylon
- T-shirts – 2 or 3
- Lightweight long underwear – 2 pairs, helps to keep you warm at night or as a base layer during the day. We recommend one set for kayaking and one set which is reserved for sleeping and always stays dry.
- Sweaters – 2 warm wool or fleece sweaters (one may be all you need, but it is nice to have a spare in case one gets wet)
- Bathing suit – For the hot tub, or brave ocean swimmers!
- Warm socks – 3 to 5 pair (1 warmer pair for around camp)
- An extra set of clothes that you may want to reserve for the end of the trip.
Our online booking system allows you easy access to booking your tour with Spirit of the West Adventures, any time of day. If you think that you would like to book a trip, but need time to look into other travel arrangements, please contact our office and we will place a temporary hold on your spaces. We also offer real humans to speak with if that’s your preference, so feel free to call our office at 1-800-307-3982 (from within Canada and the U.S) or 1-250-285-2121 (from overseas). We can be reached by email at [email protected] If, for any reason, you are having trouble booking your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help!