*Please note that the the following information is meant to provide a general overview of your tour. The specifics of your trip will be contained in a pre-trip letter you will receive prior to your confirmed departure.*
MEETING PLACE: Government Dock, Port Hardy
MEETING TIME: 11.30 AM PST
TRIP MILES: Varies depending on group size, weather and kayaker's abilities
PUT-IN: Government Dock, Port Hardy
TAKE-OUT: Government Dock, Port Hardyl
RETURN TIME: Approximately 11:30 AM PST
THE LAST SUPPER: Join your guide and fellow trip guests for a no-host farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
TRIP LENGTH: 6 days
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 12
BOAT TYPE: Sea Kayak (Tandem kayaks are used unless a single kayak is requested and rented. The use of single kayaks is limited and determined by a variety of trip factors.)
NEAREST AIRPORTS: Port Hardy (YZT)
Day 0: Arrive in Port Hardy
Travel to Port Hardy, a working waterfront fishing village a quick taxi ride away from the Port Hardy airport. Check in to a local Inn of your choice and head out to explore this sweet Northern Vancouver Island town on your own for the night. Enjoy some local cuisine and settle in to your hotel for your overnight in anticipation of your adventure to Hurst Island.
Day 1: Boat Ride from Port Hardy to God’s Pocket Resort, Orientation Meeting, Adventure Begins!
Wake up to the sounds of the quintessential Island port town. Enjoy breakfast and coffee before checking out of your hotel to meet you guides and fellow travel mates at the Government Docks at 9:00 AM for a brief introduction before boarding your water taxi for Hurst Island. You'll have a chance to make quick introductions and receive your wetsuit booties before the boat heads out to God’s Pocket Resort. The 45 minute ride is a thrilling introduction to the Queen Charlotte Strait; keep your eye on the horizon for whales or other marine mammals as you begin your wilderness adventure. Upon your arrival at the lodge, you'll have a chance to settle into your unique lodging for the week. Once you get settled, you will meet back up with your group for an orientation meeting, followed by your first delicious God’s Pocket meal made by your very own chef! After lunch, your guides will present an introduction to kayaking and safety tips before helping you launch. You'll have a chance to practice your technique with your guides' expert assistance before beginning your first paddling excursion. After your first exploration of the Queen Charlotte Strait by kayak you will return to your home for the week at God’s Pocket to a happy hour hors d'oeuvres and wine celebration before a welcome dinner in the dining hall. Join your guides for a natural history lesson, games, and good conversation around a toasty campfire before retiring into your comfortable bed.
- Accommodations: God’s Pocket Resort
- Meals Included: L, D
Day 2-5: Sea Kayaking, Hiking, Whale Watching, and Tide pooling
Relax into the rhythm of wilderness adventure! Once the scents of a freshly cooked breakfast entice you to the dining hall, you can enjoy heaping portions of your favorite steaming breakfasts. Depending on the weather, you'll either go for a hike or head down to the dock for your foray on the water. Mornings begin with a filling breakfast as the sun warms the waters of the cove. You'll spend about 4-5 hours per day paddling these intriguing seas, with the occasional floating rest stop as whales or other marine mammals break the surface with their thrilling antics. You might visit the world-famous Browning Wall, marveling at the explosion of invertebrate life visible at low tide, or break for lunch on bleached-white madden beaches, exploring the relics of ancient civilizations. During your lengthy lunch break, relax on the beach with a gourmet picnic prepared by the chef's lodge and complete with delectable baked goods. Some beaches also offer hikes into the thick rainforest blanketing the islands, for a chance to stretch your legs and learn about the natural history of the area
Most days focus on kayak exploration of the area, but some days might include a shorter paddle partnered with a longer hike at the lodge, whale watching, or a midnight paddle to view the ocean's glowing bioluminescence. As a special treat, you'll also load the kayaks onto the God's Pocket water taxi and journey across the Strait to the Millar group of islands for a closer look at the large marine mammals that inhabit these waters. While paddling this network of tiny islands, you might see over a hundred Stellar sea lions hauled out on the rocky outcrops. However, playful humpback whales often steal the show with lunge feeding or their acrobatic displays.
If you need a break from kayaking, you have the option to spend the day at the lodge instead of paddling. Just relax with a good book, hike one of the many island trails, or investigate the library of board games, nature films, and local ecology books. Don't forget to watch for the resident octopus in the bay!
- Paddle Distance: 7-9 miles per day
- Accommodations: God’s Pocket Resort
- Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 6: Return to Port Hardy
After a final breakfast at God's Pocket, you’ll have time to gather up your belongings and say your goodbyes to beautiful Hurst Island and your loving hosts before boarding the boat back to Port Hardy. You'll depart the lodge and arrive in to Port Hardy around 10:30 am. You are free to depart at your leisure if you are traveling by car. If you are catching a flight, we recommend booking your return flight for 12:000 pm or later from Port Hardy to Vancouver International airport.
- Meals Included: B
Travel to Port Hardy by Air:
The easiest way to get to Port Hardy by air, is to fly through Vancouver International Airport (airport code YVR) to Port Hardy, BC (airport code YZT). From Vancouver International's South Terminal you can catch a flight on Pacific Coastal Airlines direct to Port Hardy. Once in Port Hardy, it's just a quick cab ride into town. Be sure to give yourself 1.5-2 hours between your arriving flight in Vancouver International and your departing flight from the South Terminal to Port Hardy. You will have to clear customs and take a 15 minute shuttle from the International Terminal to the South Terminal (there should be signs to guide you). The South Terminal Courtesy Shuttle pick-up is located outside the International Terminal Building, you’ll need to exit the International Arrival on level 2 and go to the shuttle pick-up location at Bus Bay 3.
If you fly from Vancouver to Port Hardy, you will need to arrange for a taxi to take you from the airport to your accommodations. We highly recommend scheduling your taxi in advance of your arrival. Rates vary, but are typically about $25 CAD. Please remember to 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.
Travel to Port Hardy By Car:
Port Hardy is also accessible by car, via a beautiful drive following BC Route 19 from Nanaimo to Port McNeill. Vancouver Island can be reached from the Canadian or U.S. mainlands by utilizing one of multiple ferry crossings from the Vancouver metro or greater Seattle areas. The BC Ferries and Washington State DOT Ferry websites are very helpful resources if you are planning to drive to Northern Vancouver Island.
The Glen Lyon Inn, Quarterdeck Inn, Kwa'lilas Hotel, Pierside Landing, North Coast Hostel, as well as a few B&Bs are all located near the Government Docks where you will be meeting your guides at 9:00 AM on day 1 of your tour. Make your reservations well in advanced, as the short summer tourist season books up quickly for the limited number of hotels on the North Island. Please note, hotel nights before and after the tour are not included in your tour cost.
Things to Do:
- Whale Watching: Mackay Whale Watching or Stubbs Island Whale Watching
- Grizzly Bear Tours: Tide Rip Tours
- Cultural Tours & Museums: Sea Wolf Adventures, Port McNeill Visitor Centre, Alert Bay Museum, and Sointula Museum
- Parks and Trails:Cape Scott Provincial Park, Raft Cove Provincial Park, Nimpkish Lake Provincial Park, Telegraph Cove, Mount Cain, Sointula on Malcolm Island and Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. As for marine routes one must consider exploring the Johnstone Strait, Broughton Archipelago, Kingcome Inlet, and Knight Inlet..
- Restaurants: Northern Lights Restaurant,, Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro,
Sea Kayak Adventures Physical Requirements
Here at Sea Kayak Adventures our first and foremost goal is for you to have an enjoyable and safe experience. While most of our trips are suitable for beginners, some of our trips are more active than others and it’s important that you understand the physical requirement of the trip you choose.
All of our sea kayaking trips are active adventures that involve some level of physical exertion and possible exposure to the elements including but not limited to wind, rain, heat, sun, cold temperatures and cold water conditions. Sea Kayak Adventures is able to accommodate people with physical limitations, disabilities and medical conditions; please speak with your Adventure Consultant if you think you will require any additional assistance while on the trip. We ask that you consult your Doctor if you have health or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in an active and outdoor adventure. In general, all trip participants must be able to do the following:
- Wear all protective and safety equipment that are required by Sea Kayak Adventures and recommended/required by industry wide standards.
- Load and unload, on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion, the bus and/or van providing transportation for Sea Kayak Adventures activities.
- Reach the water access points (put-in and take-out) on their own, or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Enter and exit the raft, kayak and/or inflatable kayak on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft, canoe, kayak or inflatable kayak w/ the aid of adaptive equipment, if necessary.
- Float on their back when entering moving and still water. The participant must be capable of turning from face-down to face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Floatation Device and must be able to hold their breath while under water.
- Remain calm and keep breathing under control in the event of a swim.
- Climb into the kayak, with the help of another person, should an involuntary swim happen at any point on the water.
- Make progress toward the shoreline or a boat by swimming in moving water and must be able to exit the water and ascend the shoreline once reached.
- Participate as an active paddler when instructed by the guide for the duration of trip.
- Move about the campsite on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion on all trips that include overnight camping and/or lunch.
Whether you are an avid sea kayaker, or it is your first time, you’ll enjoy these incredible trips, and share in our passion for adventure, commitment to conserving the environment, and relishing unique experiences. For those new to the sport, kayaking is easy to learn in the sheltered waters that we visit, and we provide all of the camping gear, kayaking equipment and guidance needed. In addition, we keep our groups small to allow you to not only travel intimately among nature, but to ensure you receive the necessary attention from our guides.
We are excited to see you soon for your kayaking and camping tour with ROW Sea Kayak Adventures! The packing list outlined below is meant to serve as a guide to help you plan, prepare and outfit yourself for your upcoming travels. We have provided our best recommendations and suggestions. These suggestions are based on the outlined itinerary, the geographic region, our knowledge of British Columbia, and our personal experience.
ROW’s adventures are best enjoyed if you travel light. For our British Columbia wilderness tours we recommend packing as lightly as possible. We think it is wise to avoid checking any luggage under the plane. If you do check a bag, make sure that you have everything that is either essential or would be hard to replace, with you in your carry-on bags.
Packing for Your Kayak Tour:
Sea Kayak Advetures will provide all necessary paddling equipment including: personal flotation devices (PFDs), all kayaking equipment, and neoprene booties. It is vital that all of your kayaking clothes are synthetic or wool, not cotton. As we like to say in the world of kayaking, “cotton is rotten!” Synthetics are also ideal for hiking in as they wick away moisture from the body and dry quickly. Packing efficiently will make loading your kayaks easy and enable you to quickly find your gear during the tour. Plan to use 1-2 kayaking outfits and 1-2 lodge outfits that you will reuse throughout the trip.
- Each set of dry bags will have a name (Sea Otter, Humpback, Orca) to help you in identifying your personal gear while out on tour. While you will have a total of 50 Liters of space, it is important to embrace “packing light.” This doesn’t mean that you have to pack light for your entire vacation, just think small and light for anything you plan to bring kayaking. If you have any questions or need gear suggestions please don’t hesitate to call the office or shoot us an e-mail. We are happy to help!
- Passport – be sure it is valid for at least six (6) months after the date of your arrival
- A photocopy of your passport, inside a zip lock bag and stowed elsewhere in your luggage (as an additional precautionary measure, consider leaving a photocopy with family or friends at home as well)
- Copy of your air tickets with ticket numbers, placed elsewhere in your luggage
- Cash for gratuities
- Credit card that works internationally, ideally with chip technology (Call your bank and let them know where you will be traveling)
- Waterproof Watch or small travel clock with alarm (if you are taking a phone, this can serve as your alarm clock)
- TSA-accessible lock for luggage security when not on your person (optional- can buy these at any outdoor or travel store.)
God’s Pocket Kayaking Clothes:
We recommend synthetic or quick-dry materials for kayaking excursions
- One pair of paddling gloves (optional)
- One pair long, lightweight, nylon pants with zipper pockets (Zip off legs give you more options)
- One - two pair nylon shorts or capris
- One - two pair synthetic or merino wool long underwear
- One - two short sleeve shirt(s) of tank top(s) (synthetic is best)
- Two long sleeve shirts with sun protection (You can buy tight-weave nylon shirts with 30 SPF protection made by companies such as Patagonia, Columbia, Exofficio or REI etc. Sun protection is essential)
- Four to five pair underwear (synthetic is best)
- Two - three pair synthetic or merino wool socks
- One wide-brim, tie-on hat (the floppy nylon variety is ideal, as it packs well)
- One warm hat
- One – two lightweight, packable jackets and/or vests (Synthetic is ideal for packing light)
- One – two wool or synthetic sweater or jacket for warmth in the evenings and mornings
- One waterproof jacket and pair of waterproof pants (essential for happy BC touring!)
- Paddling jacket (optional, if you do not have a paddling jacket your regular rain jacket can be worn while paddling if needed)
- One pair sturdy trail shoes, or running shoes, to use for hiking and around the islands
- One pair sandals with ankle straps to wear while kayaking, on the beaches, walking around camp, etc. (Chaco, Keens or Crocs are preferred but there are many other brands that are suitable)
Gear and Other Essentials:
- Headlamp for possible night walks or night paddles (it’s a good idea to pack extra batteries and possibly an extra bulb)
- One water bottle (1 Liter works best)
- One buff or bandanna for sun protection and cooling off
- Camera, batteries, battery charger (Mophie battery packs (external battery pack) for all USB enabled devices are a great option, you will also have electricity at God’s Pocket to charge any electronic devices needed)
- Binoculars (Optional but nice for bird and wildlife watching)
- Sunglasses, polarized are highly recommended for sun protection and enhanced clarity
- Retaining strap for glasses and sunglasses (Chums, Croakies or similar item. We will have these for sale at the orientation meeting)
- Extra pair of sunglasses and glasses/contacts
- Three to four kitchen garbage can liners (These are great for wet clothes, dirty laundry, soiled shoes, etc.)
- A few quart-size or 1-gallon Ziploc bags (Very handy for personal items as well as packing sunscreens, lotions or anything that might make a mess)
- Books or E-reader, pen and note pad,etc. (There are books, games and movies for you to check out at God’s Pocket, too!)
Toilet Kit/First Aid:
- Standard toiletry kit including general hygiene products (keep liquids under 3.38 oz. for carry-ons)
- Biodegradable shampoo, conditioner and soap
- Sunscreen & lip balm with SPF 15-30
- Personal medicines/prescriptions (Dramamine-motion sickness, Benadryl -allergic reactions, Advil or Aspirin, etc.)
- Insect repellent
- Skin lotion
- Small squeeze bottle of hand-sanitizer gel
- Hairdryer (optional)
British Columbia: Recommended Reading List
Allen, S., Mortenson, J., & Webb, S. (2011). Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Bell, C., & Paterson, R. (2008). Protection of First Nations Cultural Heritage: Laws, Policy, and Reform. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press.
Bernard, H. (1993). The Oceanic Society Field Guide to the Humpback Whale. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books.
Carwardine, M. (1995). Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises. London, UK: Dorling Kindersley.
Chadwick, D. (2008). The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.
Fox, C. (2016). At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast. Victoria, BC: Rockie Mountain Books.
Gordon, D., & Flaherty, C. (1992). American Cetacean Society: Field Guide to the Orca. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books.
Hoyt, E. (1990). Orca: Whale Called Killer. London, UK: Robert Hale.
Livingstone, R. (1990). Beyond the Gate: Artists’ Journeys to Save the Tsitika Valley and Robson Bight. Vancouver, BC: Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
Morton, A. (1993). In the Company of Whales. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers.
Morton, A. (2004). Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us. New York City, NY: Ballantine Books.
Morton, A. (1990). Siwiti: A Whale’s Story. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers.
Neering, R. (1993). A Traveler’s Guide to Historic British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books.
Proctor, B., & Maximchuk, Y. (2003) Full Moon, Flood Tide: Bill Proctor’s Raincoast. Pender Harbour, BC: Harbour Publishing.
Vaillant, J. (2006). The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Terms and Conditons
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.