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BC Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait Kayak Tour

Adventure Kayaking in coastal Canada with Orca Whales!

view from kayak of orca pod

Between the northern reaches of Vancouver Island and the remote mainland coast of British Columbia lies a geographically unique group of islands and islets. Called the Broughton Archipelago, this area is protected from, yet on the edge of, the open Pacific Ocean. Johnstone Strait flows from the southern edge of the Broughton and is the main route the Pacific salmon travel on their way to the Fraser River near Vancouver BC (one of the world's largest salmon runs) and many other mainland and Vancouver Island rivers. In the Broughton - Johnstone Strait area, the Pacific currents funnel through the narrow tidal passages creating an astoundingly rich habitat for marine mammals, fish, birds and intertidal life. British Columbia's resident orca population return here every summer, following the salmon that are necessary to their survival.

" With the AWESOME crew of captain Tavish, Chef Fern and guides Steve and Luke - ALL unflappable and incredibly good humoured!! Thank you SOOO much for another fabulous trip on the good ship COLUMBIA"
Big hugs from Jim and Doria. 2011, 2012 (whole boat charter), 2013, 2016

Orcas spyhopping This kayak tour provides the ideal combination of stunning coastal wilderness paddling and spectacular wildlife viewing (gallery). With the Columbia III's onboard accommodation, we can easily travel to the untouched corners of the Broughton Archipelago (usually inaccessible by expedition kayakers) and position ourselves in "the right place at the right time" for the most unforgettable wildlife encounters.

" Thank-you for what truly was an amazing and most enjoyable trip. I think I have become your best salesman because I can't stop telling people about what a great trip we had and what a fine bunch of people the Columbia III crew are. You are giving people a chance to see the best of one of the world's most beautiful spots in the very best way possible. Magic Stuff!
From me too, a warm thank-you to all of you for this lovely week! You are an impressive family. I loved it all - the kayaking along the edges was especially interesting, the food was scrumptious (every bite!) the company great fun and the boat very comfortable. Thanks for everything and see you next year in the Great Bear Rainforest!
Robert and Enneke, Vancouver, B.C. (by e-mail) 2007, 2008, 2009 whole boat charter, and 2013

Kayaker on Beach Departing from Port McNeill after boarding at 6 p.m. we'll spend our first night on the Columbia III at the historic BC First Nation's coastal village of Alert Bay. Here we'll take an evening walk to the beautiful seaside graveyard totems and the next morning visit the renowned U'mista Cultural Center famous for it's Potlatch Collection. This sets the tone for our coming week in Kwakwaka'wakw territory as we paddle the sparkling mazelike passages amongst islands back- dropped by the snow-capped peaks of the Coast Mountains.

WOW! What an adventure. We are truly amazed by the skill, knowledge and effort of your guides and staff. It was an experience of a life-time. The meals were above expectations, the attention to detail and our safety was awesome. The wildlife was the best I have seen on the BC coast: bears sea lions, whales, dolphins, birds ( too many to mention) all in one single trip!"
Linda and Pat, Kelowna B.C. 2014

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Our day's paddle begins shortly after a scrumptious breakfast. Once on the water we'll keep a sharp lookout for both marine and terrestrial life. Bald eagles overhead, ravens calling, harbour seals swimming close to check us out, black bears foraging on the beach, a humpback whale blowing, Pacific white-sided dolphins playing in the waves, are all common sights from our kayaks in the Broughton. And of course we are always on the lookout for the orca. We carry a hydrophone aboard the Columbia III and can listen to the whale's vocalizations. as well as watching and photographing them.

Orca whales

"Thanks again to the Campbell Family!! A great coastal "experience" is created by your hospitality and an outstanding week of fun, laughter and wildlife. You create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. You keep the trip fun and are the role model experience that others should aspire to. Highlight of my summer. Thank-you."
Kevin. Vancouver BC. 2005, 2007, 2009, 2009 (twice!) 2010, 2011, whole charter booked for 2012, and joined us again in 2014!

"We are so glad we decided to come on a Mothership Adventure. Everything has far exceeded our expectations. Great weather, great scenery, great paddling in a variety of locations. Highlights are seeing 36 orcas on our first full day, and kayaking with the sail!! So much fun, too many adventures. The food was fabulous and you made us feel like family guests. Thank you so much. We will do our best to spread the word to protect the environment for the wild salmon and all the creatures who need them, including the magnificent orca."
Don & Judy California 2010

Kayak Cove At lunch we'll pull our kayaks ashore on a grassy islet or at an ancient First Nation's village site and relax while we enjoy a delicious meal. The Broughton Archipelago had the highest concentration of First Nation's peoples on all of the coast due to the richness of the sea and therefore the abundance of food. Shell middens, pictographs, clam digging beaches and burial sites are evident as we paddle through this area. Later in the afternoon we'll meet the Columbia III in a different bay or cove, never needing to backtrack. A big advantage of mothershipping! There are always two guides with the group, so if some guests are energetic and want more time on the water and others are ready to return to the Columbia III, we can often accommodate both.

" Thank you all for having us aboard for a second time. We thought that the Great Bear Rainforest was fantastic, ¡¡This trip was phenomenal!! The wildlife as spectacular, and the crew and food could not have been better. We enjoyed meeting up with Luke and Steve again, and meeting Fern (whom we had heard so much about!) Arohanui,"
- Sandy, New Zealand 2010, 2015

Once aboard you'll enjoy a hot shower and appies while the Columbia III heads to the evening's anchorage. In this way we'll move through the beautiful Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago, creating each day around the needs and desires of our guests. If conditions are right, a night paddle to view the astounding bioluminescence that sparkles with each paddle stroke is a possibility. Walking in the rainforest, whale watching, visiting the local whale research station, relaxing aboard the Columbia III and of course plenty of paddling are all part of the Broughton tour. The Columbia III returns to Port McNeill at approximately 2 p.m. on the last day of the tour.

We offer directions to Port McNeill (our point of departure) and planning information.

2024 Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait Tour Dates and Cost
June 10 - 16 SOLD OUT6 nightsCDN $5,450waitlist button
July 7 - 136 nightsCDN $5,450register button
July 14 - 206 nightsCDN $5,450register button
July 21 - 25 SOLD OUT4 nightsCDN $3,620waitlist button
July 26 - 30 SOLD OUT4 nightsCDN $3,620waitlist button
July 31 - Aug 66 nightsCDN $5,450register button
Aug 7 - 136 nightsCDN $5,450register button
Aug 14 - 184 nightsCDN $3,620register button
2025 Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait Tour Dates and Cost
July 7 - 114 nightsCDN $3,995register button
July 12 - 186 nightsCDN $5,995register button
July 19 - 256 nightsCDN $5,995register button
July 26 - 304 nightsCDN $3,995register button
July 31 - Aug 66 nightsCDN $5,995register button
Aug 7 - 136 nightsCDN $5,995register button
Aug 14 - 184 nightsCDN $3,995register button

Trip size limited to 8 - 10 participants. Our trips are all inclusive from the point of departure. Trip prices are per person in Canadian dollars plus 5% G.S.T. Other currencies are listed for convenience. Exchange rates are updated every hour.