Often times, we don’t see it coming; the once-in-a-life-time experience that will change the way we look at life forever. Even as we plan our next vacation, as set in stone as the itinerary may or may not be, we have no idea what might come of this vacation or what amazing places it may lead us to next. This year, I was given the opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime; a multi-day kayaking tour with orca & humpback whale watching in British Columbia’s Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. As a means of getting to know my new job, this trip not only taught me what I needed to know to help other guests, but it taught me about value. Value not just in price, but it taught me about value in quality.

After three short flights, I arrived in Port Hardy ready for an excellent vacation. Though I’d never kayaked before, I was told that the guides would teach me everything I would need to know. I was also told we could see orcas, humpbacks and seals. Lastly, I was told that this vacation was one that I would need to really absorb myself into. Everything exceeded my expectations. From day one, when I was learning to kayak all the way to day six, as we were returning our gear and headed to the farewell dinner, I was in complete awe. We kayaked over forty miles within six days and I wasn’t sore in the slightest because the guides had taught me proper form. We crossed Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound twice while moving camps. We saw one orca, numerous humpback whales, hundreds of eagles, adorable seals, several porpoises, jelly fish and sea stars. We hiked to a beautiful waterfall, watched the sunset from another end of camp and ate incredible gourmet meals the entire time we were there.

 

Between my boyfriend and I, neither of us have a single regret during this adventurous trip. Though we got a few mosquito bites, we were constantly seeing new things and learning about the culture we were surrounded by. We got to know our fellow ROW Sea Kayak Adventures guests extremely well and even had ‘inside jokes’ by the end of the week and were extremely sad to see everyone head their separate ways at the end of the tour. We cannot utter a single bad word about this trip, it’s views, or the small town of Port McNeill that we arrived in on the first and last days. We made friends with our local guides; we laughed until we cried nearly every day over something one of the guides said or during the games that we played. This trip really changed the way I look at vacations. Now I find myself in search of similar vacations; vacations that really pull you into the activities, teach you about the culture and remind you just how incredible the place your visiting really is. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking to meet new people, have an incredible adventure, see incredible sights and/or strengthen their relationship with the person they are bringing with them. This all happened for me and I cannot wait for my next adventure.

 

 

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The scientific name for orca whales, Orcinus orca, literally translates to “Demon of the Deep.” In English, they are most commonly known as killer whales. Both names suggest that they are dangerous animals, to be feared, and kept at a safe distance.