Humpback Base Camp Tour | Adventure Unbound

Base Camp Kayaking and Humpback Viewing Tour

Up north in the Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park, the people may be far away but the wildlife is anything but. Experience humpback whales and the incredible wilderness of British Columbia on this unique kayaking and base camp tour that shows you the best the region has to offer—both offshore and inshore. Hike through lush ancient rainforests and paddle along pristine coastlines, discovering the region’s rich First Nations culture and biodiversity. 

Experience British Columbia’s jaw-dropping scenery and captivating wildlife on this 4-day adventure through the remote reaches of Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park and Knight Inlet. In the park, spend your days paddling through tranquil bays, trekking through old-growth forests and discovering the region’s deep-seeded indigenous culture and history. Humpback whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, and seals swim in the waters off your campsite and sea eagles perch in the towering tree line. As you journey, enjoy delicious meals with locally sourced ingredients and local wines along with the intimate knowledge of the area shared by our accompanying naturalist guides. You can extend your journey to include to the Knight Inlet, where you have the rare opportunity to witness wild grizzly and black bears up close as they feed in the inlet’s grasslands! 

 

Images & Videos

Humpback wheel breaching out of the Ocean and exposing its baleen as seen from a sea kayak
A group of sea kayakers spread out across a rocky beach covered in drift wood eating lunch on a sunny day
Grizzly bear mom and cub looking in the same direction in green grass
Kaikash Creek in British Columboa
Person paddling towards a breaching humpback whale as birds fly overhead
Two people in matching sun hats in a tandem kayak paddle through kelp and seaweed while smiling for the camera
Group of sea kayakers in their rain gear smiling on a rocky beach in front of a dense forest of trees in British Columboa
Sea kayaking during a Canadian sunset
Numerous red sea kayaks paddling through a sea of bull kelp and seaweed
A group of seals all looking the same direction perched on a rock in the middle of the water
Bottom up view of very tall trees in a dense forest on an island off the coast of British Columbia
Kayakers paddling off the coast of Vancouver Island near Paddlers Inn
A group of sea kayakers paddling past Berry Island and admiring a pictograph on a boulder along the water
Kayaking close to the coastline through Blackney Pass full of kelp and seaweed
Breakfast potatoes cooking on a large skillet while camping on an island in BC
A mom grizzly bear and its cub walk along a rocky beach full of drift wood as spotted from a sea kayak
Woman in a sun hat and red life jacket in a red sea kayak smiling while holding her paddle across her kayak
Group of sea kayakers huddled in a circle underneath a boulder on a rocky beach planning their route on the water
Humpback wheel breaching out of the Ocean and exposing its baleen as seen from a sea kayak
A group of sea kayakers spread out across a rocky beach covered in drift wood eating lunch on a sunny day
Grizzly bear mom and cub looking in the same direction in green grass
Kaikash Creek in British Columboa
Person paddling towards a breaching humpback whale as birds fly overhead
Two people in matching sun hats in a tandem kayak paddle through kelp and seaweed while smiling for the camera
Group of sea kayakers in their rain gear smiling on a rocky beach in front of a dense forest of trees in British Columboa
Sea kayaking during a Canadian sunset
Numerous red sea kayaks paddling through a sea of bull kelp and seaweed
A group of seals all looking the same direction perched on a rock in the middle of the water
Bottom up view of very tall trees in a dense forest on an island off the coast of British Columbia
Kayakers paddling off the coast of Vancouver Island near Paddlers Inn
A group of sea kayakers paddling past Berry Island and admiring a pictograph on a boulder along the water
Kayaking close to the coastline through Blackney Pass full of kelp and seaweed
Breakfast potatoes cooking on a large skillet while camping on an island in BC
A mom grizzly bear and its cub walk along a rocky beach full of drift wood as spotted from a sea kayak
Woman in a sun hat and red life jacket in a red sea kayak smiling while holding her paddle across her kayak
Group of sea kayakers huddled in a circle underneath a boulder on a rocky beach planning their route on the water

Itinerary

Collapse all days

Day 1

Launch from Telegraph Cove

Your guide greets you early this morning at the Haida Way Motor Inn before escorting you to the Port McNeill harbor. There, set off on a scenic cruise to Swanson Island, passing the coastal community of Alert Bay and catching your first wildlife sightings. 

Upon arrival, settle into our base camp—equipped with full-height canvas tents and comfortable cots— on Swanson Island. Relax with some lunch before embarking on your first multisport adventure: an afternoon kayaking through Blackfish Sound or paddling by other island groups nearby. 

Return to camp for happy hour and enjoy a sample of local wines and freshly prepared hors d’oeuvres. After, indulge in a gourmet dinner and dessert surrounded by incredible views before sharing stories around a campfire. If you’re up to it, check out the ocean’s light display with its natural bioluminescence before heading to bed. 

Note: Approximate paddling distances may vary depending on weather conditions and group size. While we strive to adhere to the outlined itinerary, it may vary according to circumstances outside of our control such as inclement weather, sea conditions and campsite availability. Further, though there is a high probability that you will encounter whales on this adventure, but the proximity, frequency and quality of the sightings depend on the whales’ travel patterns. Please inquire about availability for the Grizzly Bear extension. 

ACCOMMODATION : Oceanside Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Day 2-3

Discover Broughton Archipelago and Blackfish Sound by Kayak and Foot

Wake up to coffee and a warm breakfast as the sun settles into the rainforest. Start the day peering into the small world of tide pools or watching seals romp on nearby shores before hopping into your kayak. Each day, expect to paddle each morning for 2-3 hours as you explore the islands, inlets and channels of the southern Broughton Archipelago. Eagles ride the wind while humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals ride the waves throughout the area. 

After your morning paddle, spend some time relaxing and exploring the islands’ many natural beauties. See what wildlife can be found ashore with some short hikes and beachcombing before heading back out to the water for an afternoon paddle. 

Your evenings are spent enjoying delicious snacks and drinks followed by a gourmet dinner. Then, fall asleep surrounded by nature’s soothing sounds and under a swath of stars. 

Each morning you will wake to the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and tea as the sun slowly rises, with your guides up early preparing a warm breakfast. There’ll be plenty of time to explore the tidal pools while wandering along the beach or relax with a book accompanied by a steaming mug of coffee, before preparing to embark on the day’s adventure. 

Evenings will be spent relaxing around the crackling campfire and listening to your friendly guides spin tales and impart local folklore, accompanied by the sounds of the surrounding wilds. 

ACCOMMODATION : Oceanside Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Explore Telegraph Cove and Return to Port McNeill

Wake early to an early breakfast before breaking camp and boarding the water taxi back to Telegraph Cove.

We return to Telegraph Cove by late afternoon whereupon you’re taken to Port McNeill. Enjoy some relaxation time before rejoining for an optional farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant. We recommend staying in Port McNeill to ensure catching your return flight home. 

ACCOMMODATION : Haida-Way Motor Inn (Not Included In Trip Price)
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Departure

Begin your journey home from Port McNeill at your leisure or choose to extend your stay in this charming coastal community.  If you would like to extend your tour to include a day of Grizzly viewing in Knight Inlet please inquire about availability with an adventure consultant!

 

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD)
Jun 24, 2025 to Jun 27, 2025 $1,640£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Jul 01, 2025 to Jul 04, 2025 $1,640£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Jul 08, 2025 to Jul 11, 2025 $1,640£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0

Supplementary Information

Looking for an alternative basecamp option? Check out our Orca Basecamp Tour! During peak season, from mid-July to early September, we host this Orca viewing adventure from our base camp in the Johnstone Strait!

INCLUDED: 

  • All meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • Transportation to and from the launch site
  • All kayaking instruction
  • All kayaking and camping equipment
  • Full service of our certified professional Guides and Adventure Consultants
  • Water taxi to basecamp

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Transportation to and from Port McNeill
  • Hotel before and after the tour
  • Meals before or after the tour
  • Gratuity for guides
  • Items of a personal nature.

ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub-contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.

FAQ & More

When is the best time to see whales?

 Humpback whales return from their breeding grounds in Hawaii early summer, and remain through autumn feeding on the local schools of fish.  Our trips are scheduled only during the times when the whales have historically populated the area.  Though once hunted to extinction from the area, humpbacks have returned to the area as a tremendous success story, and are sighted often!

Is there a danger while kayaking near whales?

All whales are acutely aware of their surroundings, and can use echolocation to track objects in the water. During our many years in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound and hundreds of close encounters with humpbacks, we feel very safe being in their presence. 

Will I definitely get to see the humpback whales?

While we have a 98% success rate for seeing humpbacks, they are wild animals that roam at will and thus, sightings are not guaranteed. To increase your opportunities for seeing the humpbacks, or simply to enjoy even more whale watching, you may want to add an extra day to your vacation to participate in a Stubb's Island Whale Watching trip. Their motorized boat allows them to cover more area in search of sealife and and humpbacks throughout the waterways near Telegraph Cove.  

How do I get from Port Hardy to Port Mc Neill for my tour?

If you fly into Port Hardy, you will need to arrange a taxi for the 35-minute drive South to Port McNeill. You can expect to pay about $45-60 CAD for the one-way fare, however rates do vary. We recommend sharing the ride with other members of the tour if you meet one another on the plane (or are on the same flight when departing). Please bring cash to pay the driver. The taxi companies change regularly, but we recommend Waivin Flags Taxi, 1-250-230-7655 and Town Taxi 1-250-949-7877 on the North Island.

Where do I stay before and after my tour?

We recommend making arrangements at the Haida Way Motor Inn in Port McNeill, BC, particularly if you do not have a car, as this is the site of the orientation meeting, as well as the pickup point for your transport to the launch site on the first day of the tour. The hotel is very basic, but clean and well-kept. Their in-house Northern Lights Restaurant has the best seafood in town. Indicate you are traveling with ROW Sea Kayak Adventures. We also recommend the Black Bear Resort, which is directly across the street from the Haida Way, and also features basic but comfortable accommodations. All hotels on northern Vancouver Island fill well in advance for summer, so wherever you choose to stay, we recommend making reservations early. Please note, hotel nights before and after the tour are not included in your tour cost. There are plenty of things to see and do in Port McNeill and Port Hardy if you choose to extend your stay. 

Can I paddle a single kayak?

We have single kayaks available to reserve and use throughout the trip (for an additional cost of $100) for paddlers who have previous ocean paddling experience. If you would like to reserve a single kayak for your trip you will need to contact our Adventure Consultants to add this to your reservation and provide a summary of your ocean paddling experience.

Custom or Private

You love this itinerary but want to change it a bit to make it perfect for you?  Or, are you wanting to simply make it private?  Either way, we can do it!

Fill out this quick form to begin a custom or private adventure of a lifetime:

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