Box 569 Heriot Bay, British Columbia, Canada V0P 1H0
North America: 1.800.307.3982 | Local & Overseas: 1.250.285.2121


We are here to assist you in any way we can.
North America: 1.800.307.3982
Local & Overseas: 1.250.285.2121
[email protected]



    FAQ

    All you need to know for your trip

    Looking for Answers?

    Read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our tours, kayaking and travelling to beautiful British Columbia. Of course, always feel free to contact us as we are happy to help and there is no such thing as a silly question!

    TRIP PLANNING

    + WHAT IS INCLUDED? WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

    Once you are on your tour, there are no additional costs. Everything that you will need for kayaking and camping is supplied except for a few personal items such as a sleeping bag and rain gear (which can be rented if needed), your clothes, and toiletries.

    During the tour, all meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages (a selection of teas, coffee, juices, hot chocolate) are provided. Please see tour-specific itineraries to determine the first and last meals served on your tour. 

    *Wine with dinners and bedding is provided for the Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour only.

    Once you have reserved your tour, you will be provided with a detailed packing list of what to bring for your kayaking tour in our Guest Handbook.

    + CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE FOOD ALLERGIES/SPECIAL DIETS?

    We are happy to accommodate many dietary restrictions. However, dietary restrictions add additional complexity and costs to preparing for your tour. Please see below for some of the dietary restrictions we can accommodate and the associated costs for substitutions.

    • $75 fee: gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan
    • No additional cost: vegetarian, no red meat, no fish, no seafood

    If you have dietary restrictions or allergies not listed above, please contact us at [email protected] to discuss if we are able to accommodate your needs and any additional charges.

    + ARE THERE ANY AGE REQUIREMENTS?

    Spirit of the West Adventures has tours for all ages of adventurers. We require a minimum age of 12 for most of our multi-day tours. If you are travelling with kids under 12, the Orca Family Tour is specifically designed for families with kids aged 5-12.

    Those concerned with being in ‘their older years’ are welcome to contact us to discuss their physical abilities and we will help match you with the best adventure for you.

    + WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AGE OF GUESTS ON YOUR TOURS?

    We have had guests ranging from age 5 to 85 join us. On our Orca Family tours, we can accommodate guests as young as 5 years old.

    The average age range of guests on our tours tends to be between ages 30 to 65, with every tour being a little different. If you are unsure of which tour fits you best, we welcome you to contact us and we will be happy to help you find the best trip for you.

    + HOW MUCH KAYAKING EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED TO JOIN YOUR TRIPS?

    No kayaking experience is required for nearly all of our tours. Our trips are thoughtfully designed to ensure a great vacation for all levels of experience and abilities. 

    Try our Trip Finder Tool to help select a tour based on your desired adventure level. Or, contact us and we would be happy to help you find the perfect fit. 

    If you are new to kayaking and camping, our base camping style tours— Whales and Wilderness Glamping and Johnstone Strait Ultimate are a great option. If you are looking for more rugged and rustic camping, check out our expedition-style tours: the Johnstone Strait Expedition, Orca Lite, or Desolation Sound expeditions. If you are a more experienced paddler, consider our Nuchatlitz or Great Bear Rainforest tours.

    The only tours that require previous paddling and camping experience are the 6-day Nuchatlitz expedition and 8-day Great Bear Rainforest expedition. These tours offer longer paddling days and can present paddling conditions in which previous experience is helpful. The Nuchatlitz expedition has been designed for intermediate to experienced paddlers with a sense of adventure. That said, less experienced paddlers can definitely enjoy this trip as long as they’re aware of the potential conditions and are up for the personal challenge!

    The Great Bear Rainforest tour is our longest, most remote tour offering and requires previous paddling and camping experience and is suitable for intermediate-expert paddlers. If you are wondering whether either tour would be a suitable fit for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office crew.

    + DO I NEED TO BE IN GREAT SHAPE FOR THESE TOURS?

    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. As a general rule, you need to be capable of a few hours of moderately paced exercise each day, be comfortable with navigating uneven, rocky and slippery ground in a wilderness environment and be able to help lift items required for your trip. Please keep in mind that good general health will go a long way toward the enjoyment of your tour. Most important though is an adventurous spirit!

    Our base-camp-style tours can be suitable for those who wish to be in the wilderness but do not wish to do any kayaking (you can always choose to stay back at camp). 

    Spirit of the West is proud to provide an inclusive and thoughtful wilderness experience. We have successfully accommodated guests with varying levels of ability and physical conditions over the years. Our basecamp-style tours in particular can provide additional resources and support for those who need it most. Please give us a call to discuss any personal needs.

    + HOW MUCH PADDLING IS GENERALLY DONE IN A DAY?

    Time spent paddling on the water will vary depending on which tour you choose, the daily tour route (weather and sea state dependent) and the group’s abilities/desires. Generally, we travel between 4-6 hours a day in the kayaks, not including breaks and lunch. The first and last days of a tour generally involve less time on the water due to the travel required to get to these special places and time spent helping you settle in.

    For a more in-depth glance at the distance covered for each trip, head to the FAQ tab under the particular tour you would like to learn more about.

    + WILL I FIT COMFORTABLY IN THE KAYAKS?

    The kayaks we use are designed for most shapes and sizes of bodies, however, if you are over 6ft (182cms) tall, are on the more petite side of things, have larger hips, or weigh over 250lbs (115 kg) please contact us so we can ensure we have the appropriate kayak available for you.

    + WHAT ABOUT KAYAK PREFERENCES? DO YOU PROVIDE DOUBLE AND SINGLE KAYAKS?

    We use a mix of single and double kayaks on every trip. If the majority of the group has a preference for single kayaks we would ask that everyone take a turn rotating through the doubles for part of a day. We typically bring a minimum of two double kayaks on each trip as they offer many advantages including added safety, carrying gear, matching paddler abilities, and general group management. While we try our best to provide you with your preferred kayak choice, we ask that everyone have some flexibility and openness to trying different kayak types throughout the trip. 

    + WHAT IS THE CAMP SET UP LIKE?

    On expedition-style trips, all of our campsites are in wilderness settings, and shelter is provided by the tents and tarps we carry with us. We seek out sites with beautiful surroundings and those that offer solitude. These are all undeveloped and may be clearings in the forest or space on the beach. There may be times (on occasion) when we are camping next to another group of paddlers. Campsite choice will be based on weather conditions, route choice,  and group size.

    Our two permanent basecamps in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound which are home to the Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour, Johnstone Strait Ultimate and Orca Family Tours offer many amenities to make your stay in the wilderness as comfortable as possible.

    Our Johnstone Strait Ultimate and Orca Family guests enjoy our basecamp on West Cracroft Island. This camp offers a driftwood-style kitchen and sitting area that are sheltered from rain and sun. Large, cotton canvas tents are set up on wooden tent platforms with beds and pillows (no linens provided, bring your own sleeping bag or rent from us). Amenities include a covered dining area, a wood-fired hot tub, and two hot water showers. Each tent is assigned their own outhouse with a composting toilet in a central area.

    Our Whales & Wilderness Glamping basecamp is the perfect place to relax, explore, experience the power of nature, and enjoy gourmet food prepared in the wilderness. Large cotton canvas tents allow you to stand up and move around with ease. Each tent is set up on a raised wooden platform complete with real beds with comfortable mattresses, pillows, linens, and cozy duvets help to ensure a good night’s sleep. The wood-fired hot tub overlooks the ocean and is a great place to soak at the end of the day. A large platform with a covered outdoor lounge and plenty of space to practice self-guided yoga, read books, and enjoy delicious appetizers prepared from our on-site chefs. There are also two hot water showers complete with an ocean view.

    + WHAT IF I USE A CPAP MACHINE, CAN I BRING IT ON MY TOUR?

    We have previously had guests bring their CPAP machine to our base-camp style tours and have yet to have any problems. At our Whales & Wilderness Glamping, Johnstone Strait Ultimate, and Orca Family camps we are on solar power so the available electricity has the potential to be low if there hasn’t been consistent sun for a period of time. Because of this, when your CPAP isn’t in use, we ask that you unplug it to help conserve energy. 

    Although this source is generally reliable, if it is dangerous for you to sleep at night without your CPAP machine, it’s recommended that you bring a backup battery for the machine in case of emergency. 

    On our expedition-style trips, there is no access to power throughout the whole trip. If you do need to bring your CPAP machine, ensure you have an adequate supply of portable batteries as  you will likely need 1 per night of your trip.

    Please get in touch with our office if you plan to bring a CPAP machine on tour with you. 

    + DO I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO SWIM TO JOIN A TOUR?

    We use PFDs anytime we are on the water, so you do not need to be a strong swimmer to join a tour. However, we do ask that this information be disclosed to our guides so they can be aware and confirm each individual’s comfort level and needs.

    + ARE THERE ANY SINGLE SUPPLEMENT FEES IF I AM TRAVELLING ON MY OWN?

    There are NO single supplements. We encourage solo travellers to join us and often have solo travellers on each tour. It should be no problem to have your own tent and you will have access to both single and double kayaks.

    + WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING YOUR TOURS AS A SOLO TRAVELLER?

    1. No single supplement (for BC tours or Bahamas tours- Chile has an optional solo traveller fee if you want a private hotel room.)
    2. Your very own tent – enjoy the space, enjoy the peace!
    3. You have the option to paddle both single and double kayaks.
    4. You will find new friends easily, solo travellers often join our tours!

    + CAN I GET TO THE TOUR MEETING SPOT WITHOUT A VEHICLE?

    Transit-accessible options are entirely dependent on which tour you end up choosing and can sometimes be tricky due to the remote areas our tours operate in. 

    For guests looking to carpool with others on their tour, we provide a carpooling sign-up platform that can be used by guests to arrange shared rides amongst themselves. Upon registering for your tour you will gain access to the carpooling platform. 

    *Carpool availability depends on other guests signing up to be drivers. Therefore, carpool options may not be available for your tour dates. Please keep this in mind when making travel plans.

    If you would like carpool or other transit information for your trip, please browse our Getting Here page

    + WHAT FORMS DO I NEED TO FILL OUT FOR MY TOUR?

    We require that each member in your group fill out a Personal & Medical Information Form and Waiver. Once you book a tour, you will be given instructions on filling out each form.  Please see a PDF copy below to preview the waivers*.

    For minors (under the age of 19): 

    *Please note that these are previews only, you will be sent your own copy upon booking to fill out. 

    + WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?

    Travel Insurance comes in many different shapes and sizes. The type of policy we feel gives you the most flexibility and best coverage is Cancel for Any Reason Insurance (CFAR). As the name implies, you choose why you are cancelling rather than the typically limited list of covered reasons in a more traditional cancellation type policy.

    For more in-depth insurance information, please visit our Detailed Travel Insurance page.

    Disclaimer: Spirit of the West is not an insurance expert or insurance provider. The information here is meant to be a helpful resource. Please ensure you read through the fine print and find the right policy for you and your unique circumstances.

    TRIP PREPARATION

    + WHAT IF THE WEATHER TURNS BAD? WILL I BE COMFORTABLE AND WARM?

    Our weather in the Pacific Northwest is generally pleasant from May through until the end of September. The temperature will vary slightly depending on which area you visit. 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 to make way for clear skies and sun. It can rain in the summer, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing for any weather. 

    As a general rule, be prepared for any 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. Proper rain gear is highly recommended on all trips. If you do not have rain gear, we have rentals available.  

    If you are concerned about the weather, we recommend our base-camping style tours as these campsites have covered dining and lounge areas as well as dry tents and hot showers to come home to at the end of each day. On our expedition style tours, we carry tarps but we are a little more at the mercy of mother nature with these more rustic style campsites.

    + HOW STABLE ARE THE KAYAKS? WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF FLIPPING OVER?

    The kayaks we use on our tours are stable and designed for comfort. For those with concerns, the double kayaks are slightly more stable than the singles. The likelihood of a capsize is minimal. If for some reason your kayak flips over, all of our guides have ample practice time on the water with rescue procedures in order to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. At this point we will take you to the nearest shore to change into some warm cozy clothing and carry on with our journey. While we are out on the water, it is of the utmost importance that the group sticks together in the event of capsize or change of route plan.

    + IS THERE CELL SERVICE ON YOUR TOURS? DO WE HAVE ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY WHILE AWAY?

    The nature of exploring remote wilderness areas means that steady, reliable cell service is often hard to find, and therefore shouldn’t be depended on. 

    On our expedition trips off northeastern Vancouver Island, there is typically the occasional pocket of cell service along most of the routes. However, our Nuchatlitz and Great Bear Rainforest expeditions are completely out of cell range with no service to be found. Our guides are always equipped with satellite phones to communicate with emergency services and our office team in the unlikely event of an emergency. No expedition tours have access to electricity. 

    On our base-camping trips such as Whales & Wilderness Glamping, Johnstone Strait Ultimate and Orca Family tours, we have solar-powered electrical systems that can provide charging opportunities for phones and cameras for guests. This source is fairly reliable, but there are times when power for charging items is intermittent.*

    Our Whales & Wilderness Glamping tour, based on the shores of Blackfish Sound, has fairly strong service throughout the camp. Our Johnstone Strait Ultimate and Orca Family tours, based on West Cracroft Island along the Johnstone Strait are just outside of cell range, however we do have a small service booster in camp if you need to check in with loved ones. Most of our guests opt to keep their devices on airplane mode to get the most out of the experience, free from digital distractions. 

    *Whichever tour you choose, we highly recommend bringing your own back-up personal battery bank for reliable charging for your devices. 

    + WHAT FOOTWEAR SHOULD I BRING?

    Our tours take place in wilderness environments where uneven ground, slippery surfaces, and other various hazards are common. Sturdy, waterproof footwear is necessary to ensure your feet are protected when getting in and out of your kayak, lifting and moving kayaks, and walking around campsites.

    Optimal paddling footwear would be wetsuit booties with a treaded sole, slip-on water shoes, close-toed sandals (Keens), or strapped sandals (Tevas or Chacos). Please do not wear flip-flops or Birkenstocks as they cannot be secured to your feet. Hiking boots, gumboots, or running shoes are all great options for secondary footwear to have for around camp or day-hikes/walks. 

    Tours that take place in Desolation Sound often encounter rocky beaches that are covered in sharp mussels and oysters. We highly recommend protective closed-toe footwear in these circumstances. 

    + WHERE DO WE WASH AND ARE THERE TOILETS?

    At our basecamp and glamping trips we have composting toilets and on-demand freshwater hot showers are available.

    On expedition-style trips, there is very little fresh water to be found on the small islands through which we travel. Therefore, seawater is your best bet for washing up. Alternatively, you are also welcome to bring wet-wipes or similar to ‘freshen up’. Please use biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap brands

    On expeditions, toilet facilities are not common, although some areas may have pit toilets. For the areas that don’t have pit toilets, we carry a portable toilet system. Your guide will generally designate an area or system that works for ensuring your privacy. We are very accustomed to making sure all of our guests feel as comfortable and informed as possible in this regard – please feel free to ask us any questions you might have, before or during your tour.

    + WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET MY PERIOD WHILE ON TOUR?

    For our guests that menstruate, we highly recommend always packing your preferred period product (menstrual cup, tampons, pads, etc.) even if it may not be your ‘time of the month’. Sometimes being in an unfamiliar environment or exerting more energy than normal can cause your period to come early/unexpectedly. 

    On our base-camp tours, we keep a small amount of back-up supplies on site if needed. On our expedition-style trips, our guides carry back-up supplies as part of their first-aid kits. 

    In terms of disposal, your guide team will let you know the best approach depending on which wilderness setting you may be in.

    + CAN I BRING MY FISHING ROD ON TOUR?

    Fishing can be great in the areas where we kayak and camp. The only place that we are unable to fish is from the camp on the Johnstone Strait Ultimate tour as this area is part of a Rockfish Conservation Area which makes it off-limits to all fishing. 

    On our expedition tours, you are welcome to try dragging a line behind you, but the big kelp beds can make this a little difficult. The best spot tends to be off the rocks at our campsites.

    You will need to purchase a Saltwater Fishing license. The price is approx. $8 for a day license and $33 for a five-day license. You can purchase these licenses online by creating an account through the Recreational Fishing License System. If you want to catch salmon you will have to pay an additional $6.30.

    + WHERE CAN I LEAVE LUGGAGE THAT I WON’T NEED ON TRIP?

    Many of the hotels and B&Bs we recommend offer free luggage storage – simply check with your host. Alternatively, we may be able to store your unneeded items in one of our vans. Please ensure that your luggage is clearly labelled with your name, tour and trip date, and leave it with us on the first day of your tour. Your luggage will be delivered to you on the last tour day.

    + WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY VEHICLE WHILE ON TOUR?

    If your tour meeting point is Alder Bay or Bauza Cove, there is parking available and we have paid your parking costs. Please pick up a parking pass from your guides on arrival. If you are joining a Desolation Sound tour, we have free parking available on Quadra Island at our operations base. Many of the accommodation options also have parking available if you are planning on staying with them again at the end of your tour.

    For our Nuchatlitz and Great Bear Rainforest expeditions, there is parking available for a fee at each respective government dock where our water-taxi pick up is located. 

    + 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 approximately 10% per person of the trip cost*. All tips received will be collected and dispersed amongst your guides & basecrew by the trip leader.

    *Cash (preferred), e-transfer, or credit card tipping options are available. Please note that credit card tips incur an additional charge of 3%.

    + WILL WE SEE CRUISE SHIPS ON OUR TOUR?

    On our tours that take place in and around Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, there is a possibility of seeing cruise ships as they navigate their way down the Inside Passage. This is not a daily occurrence and typically does not impact our routes or paddling days in any way.

    + WHAT IF WE ARE CELEBRATING SOMETHING LIKE A BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY ON TOUR?

    We love celebrating our guests! Upon booking, please let us know if there is a special occasion we should be aware of within your group. We have been known to include a small gift or bottle of sparkling wine depending on the circumstance to create a lasting memory of your special time with us.

    + IS THERE ANY PLACE TO DO LAUNDRY?

    We do not have laundry facilities at any of our camps. If you need to do laundry before or after your tour, there is laundry available in the main building at Alder Bay RV Park & Marina where our tour meeting spot is located. Alternatively, there is public laundry just up the road at Telegraph Cove Resort as well.

    + CAN I BRING MY DRONE ON TOUR?

    You are more than welcome to bring your drone, just discuss with your guides appropriate times and locations prior to take off.  Please also ensure your fellow guests are okay with being filmed and the drone use isn’t impacting their experience negatively.

    The use of drones around whales has been an evolving – and somewhat controversial – issue in the whale watching and research circles. The big thing to remember is that we want to ensure that we give wildlife appropriate distances so as to not disturb them. We follow the whale watching guidelines which require marine traffic to keep a minimum of 100-200 metres away depending on the species. We want to make sure we are not interrupting their natural behaviours or causing them stress.

    We recommend reading these resources for responsible drone-usage in  our area:

    ALL THINGS WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS SAFETY

    + WHAT SORT OF WILDLIFE MIGHT WE SEE ON THE TOUR?

    The wildlife in the Pacific Northwest is diverse and abundant. With river run-off from the mountains, ocean currents, tide rips, eddies and upwelling, these waters are among the most productive on earth. From the rich marine life of 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. Humpback whale populations in particular have made an amazing return to the region and sightings are plentiful throughout the summer months. 

    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 more details and stories about the wildlife we see, check out the wildlife category in our blog!

    + WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF SEEING KILLER WHALES? HOW CLOSE DO WE PADDLE TO THE ORCAS?

    On our tours to Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, we stand a high chance of seeing orcas from mid-July to September. This being said, we try to remind our guests that wildlife is just that— wild! It is very likely that you will see whales from afar or nearby; whether from your kayak, while travelling on our water taxi, or from a beach camp on the shore. Hearing the blow of a whale even from a mile across the Strait can be awe-inspiring.

    In accordance with industry whale watching regulations, we do not approach killer whales (orcas) within 200 metres. This is out of respect for the whales’ space and to ensure that we do not interfere with their natural behaviour such as foraging or socializing. 

    Our Nuchatlitz, Desolation Sound, and Great Bear Rainforest tours, while not impossible, are not likely to see whales.

    + WHAT MAKES JOHNSTONE STRAIT SO WELL-KNOWN FOR WHALE ACTIVITY?

    Spanning thousands of years and with help from numerous complex processes such as glaciation, erosion, volcano activity and tectonics,  Johnstone Strait as we know it today was eventually formed. Known for its deepwater channels carved out by glacial sheets in the last ice age, it serves as bountiful habitat for a rich variety of species throughout the area. 

    But why? The combination of deep waterways, cold ocean temperatures, and large tidal cycles makes for some of the most productive, oxygen-rich water on planet Earth. With each tidal exchange, significant nutrients that often settle deep on the ocean floor get stirred up into the upper levels of the water column. This provides a steady and robust supply of food for the many species of all sizes that move throughout these waters. With a thriving ecosystem among all levels of the food chain, it’s only natural that the larger species benefit greatly here. Johnstone Strait is considered to be core habitat for charismatic megafauna such as orcas, humpbacks, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and porpoises.

    + WHAT IS THE ROBSON BIGHT? DO ANY OF YOUR TOURS GO PAST THIS AREA?

    The Robson Bight (Michael Bigg’s) Ecological Reserve was established in 1982 and is a protected boundary along the Vancouver Island side of Johnstone Strait that is critical habitat for Northern resident killer whales. Known for its “rubbing beaches” where orca rub their bodies against the smooth round pebbles along the shallow beaches, it is a haven for Northern resident orca populations to gather, reproduce, and teach learned skills and behaviours to their offspring. The activity in this protected bay is well-documented, researched behaviour that only takes place in a small percentage of orca populations and has not been observed anywhere else in the world. Due to its significance, the Robson Bight is completely off-limits to all vessel traffic (including kayakers); however being in the proximity allows for incredible opportunity to see killer whales in their natural habitat from a responsible distance.

    Our Johnstone Strait Ultimate basecamp is located on West Cracroft Island and is directly across from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, providing the most ideal setting to view the spectacular wildlife as it goes by. Our Orca Lite expedition also takes place in the more open waters of Johnstone Strait, with some campsites in the general area near the western boundary of the Bight. 

    + WILL WE SEE SPIRIT BEARS ON THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST TOUR?

    Spirit bears are a highly revered animal that inhabit a very specific range limited to a few valleys and estuaries on the BC mainland or larger islands of the northern Great Bear Rainforest near the village of Klemtu. Our 8-day Great Bear Rainforest expedition takes place further south in the outer islands near the Hakai Conservancy and Calvert Island areas and we do not see any spirit bears along this paddling route.

    + WHAT IF I HAVE SOME FEAR OF WILDLIFE?

    We understand that everyone’s level of comfort when it comes to a wilderness environment will vary. Our expert guides will always ensure you are aware of appropriate wildlife precautions, what sort of wildlife we may see in certain areas, and what to do in the event you have an unexpected encounter, though this has never been an issue. Your safety and comfort is our top priority.

    + WHERE DO WE STORE OUR TOILETRIES & SCENTED ITEMS WHILE ON TOUR?

    On base-camp style trips such as our Whales and Wilderness Glamping or Johnstone Strait Ultimate tours, you are provided a secure personal wildlife cache to store any personal items that may be a wildlife attractant. This can be anything from toothpaste, deodorant or soap, to personal snacks or food you may have packed. At our Whales & Wilderness Glamping camp, these are conveniently located next to your composting toilet at your tent platform. While at our Johnstone Strait Ultimate camp, they are located in a central location next to our kitchen area. 

    On our expedition-style tours, some campsites will have a ‘bear-bin’ or similar available. In circumstances where a cache isn’t available, our securable kayak hatches serve as the alternative. We safely store all of our food, personal gear, and any other scented items in these kayak hatches overnight. 

    To minimize the chance of any curious animals catching a whiff of something worth checking out, at no point should any scented items be brought into your tent.

    + SHOULD I BRING WILDLIFE DETERRENTS LIKE BEAR SPRAY?

    Our guides always carry an array of emergency equipment including wildlife deterrents such as airhorns, bear spray, and bear bangers. These are only meant to be used in very specific circumstances and are usually just a precautionary measure. The wildlife we occasionally encounter while on our tours are typically quite wary of humans and give us lots of space. They are not food-conditioned due to careful measures taken and usually respond well to the most basic deterrents such as speaking loudly/clapping, 

    Though not necessary, you are welcome to bring your own if that makes you feel more comfortable. However, we ask that you know exactly how to operate your deterrent and ensure it is carefully packed.

    + WHAT IF THERE ARE FOREST FIRES IN THE AREA?

    Here on the coast on Vancouver Island and Quadra Island area, we occasionally experience smoke drifting from fires further afield. We take forest fires extremely seriously and closely monitor their location and proximity to where we operate throughout the summer season. We have extensive emergency protocols in place that our expert guides are to follow in the very unlikely event we would need to evacuate or cancel a tour.

    We recommend checking Drive BC for information on road closures, the BC Wildfire Service for an interactive map, Emergency Info BC for alerts, and BC Parks for closures.

    COVID-19 CONSIDERATIONS

    + WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT COVID-19 SAFETY?

    For information on the COVID-19 precautions Spirit of the West Adventures has in place, check out our Travel Safe and with Confidence Page. On this page, you will find the latest information on our COVID Safety Plan as well as Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19. 

    To read our Terms and Conditions, please click here. We also published a guide for Travel Insurance which will help you answer basic travel insurance questions, such as ‘What is travel insurance?’ and ‘Why do I need it?’

    + DO I NEED TO BE VACCINATED TO JOIN YOUR TOURS?

    In accordance with current provincial and federal health guidelines, guests are no longer required to be vaccinated to join our 2023 British Columbia tours.