It is truly our kayak guides that make the company. It is the kayak guides that turn a good trip into a fantastic trip. Most of our kayak guides have been with Kingfisher for years and it is because of them that we have many guests returning year after year.
“It actually felt more like being on a trip with friends than with guides. They were of course great guides, cooks, and paddlers, but it was other things that really made the trip special.” K.A. from USA
All of our kayak guides are certified with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia. As a company we encourage and support our guides in continually improving their kayaking, interpretive and leadership skills to in turn offer you the best kayaking vacation possible.
Considering joining the Kingfisher team? Check out our employment opportunities page.
Kimberly Gmyz - Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide
Kim is certified as an Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.
2018 is Jillian’s fifth season with Kingfisher. She has stepped back from her role of customer communication since the birth of her and Andrew's daughter in 2016. She continues to work on supplying homemade baked goods and organically-grown vegetables for the trips.
Jillian has a B.Sc. in wildlife biology and spent over a decade working as an avian field biologist in various locations including the Yukon, Saskatchewan, California, Arizona, Nebraska, Florida, and Costa Rica.
We pride ourselves on small group sizes, allowing close personal attention and minimal impact on the environment and the wildlife we view from our kayaks. Our base camp tours have a maximum of ten guests and three guides while our explorer tours have a maximum of eight guests with two guides.
Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, was on every trip that was offered during the first few years of the company’s existence. As the company has grown Andrew is still passionate about guiding, but also has to spend time in the office ensuring your trip runs seamlessly. Much of his energy is directed towards the hiring, training and retention of some of the best kayak guides on the coast.
Kingfisher’s kayak guides are passionate about kayaking and the wilderness and will eagerly share their knowledge with you, ensuring a trip full of memories you will never forget. Most of our guides have been with Kingfisher for a number of seasons and they are one of the reasons that we have many guests returning year after year. All of our kayak guides are certified by the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia.
At Kingfisher we are committed to five basic principles to ensure we run a sustainable business and are “doing what is right”. Learn about each of these below and for greater insight on how we operate daily to ensure we meet these principles and to learn what you can do visit our Green Tourism page.
Doing what is right for the environment.
Our business depends on a healthy environment, so how we operate is designed to minimize our impact on the environment. We purchase supplies locally, buy in bulk to minimize packaging and waste, serve only “Ocean Wise” seafood, compost food scraps, and reduce, re-use and recycle as much as we can. It not only helps us run a sustainable business, it’s simply the right thing to do.
We are just a small part of a larger solution, so we try our best to educate our guests about issues that effect our environment. Our belief is that by role modelling a high standard of sustainable environmental and social ethics, we can make a difference.
Doing what is right for the wildlife.
Responsible viewing of wildlife is paramount on all of our tours. We follow the Be Whale Wise Marine Mammal viewing guidelines and are founding members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA). Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is the current president of NIMMSA.
It is our belief that responsible wildlife viewing starts with having realistic expectations. We follow wildlife viewing protocols that treat the animals with respect, and work towards minimizing our impacts on their behaviour. This includes keeping a safe distance, being conscious of their travel patterns, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress.
Some tour operators show imagery of whales in close proximity to their guests, closer than the Be Whale Wise guidelines. While this may occur at the whim of the animals, please don’t expect that this is a regular occurrence. They are wild creatures and need their space.
Doing what is right for our communities.
We believe in supporting the local communities that we operate in. We purchase many of our supplies locally, use local service providers, and support other local tourism operators.
We are also actively involved with many community, tourism, sea kayaking, and marine mammal organizations. For more info visit our Community Involvement page.
Many of our kayak tours take place within traditional territories of many different BC First Nations. We respect these traditional lands and have established protocol use agreements where relevant.
Doing what is right for our staff.
We hire certified guides from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia and support them with continuing professional development.
Each season we conduct a guide training and orientation session to augment our guides training and knowledge. This includes safety protocols, guest relations, camp craft, and wildlife interpretation skills. Our guides often spend years working with our company – and we like to think it’s because we hire only the best, and then treat them right.
Doing what is right for our guests.
If we have done all of the above this comes naturally! We started Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures because of our love of the outdoors and our desire to spend as much time in it as we can. Our choices in how we run our company reflect that – in everything from our choice of equipment, to how we treat our visitors as friends rather than clients. We are driven by quality, not profits. We want the time you spend with us to become a life long memory and will help you find the kayak tour that is right for you.
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures is actively involved with sea kayaking, tourism, marine mammal, and community associations. For some organizations we volunteer our time and for others we support with financial and/or in-kind donations (or all of the above). Below are some of the organizations we are most active in and feel most passionate about.
Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC
The SKGABC upholds high standards for professional sea kayak guides and operators in BC. The SKGABC is Canada’s largest sea kayak guide certifying organization. All Kingfisher guides are certified by the SKGABC. Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is the past President of the SKGABC and currently chairs both the Operators and Standards committees.
North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association
NIMMSA represents the north island marine based eco-tourism industry and ensures its future as well as that of the many marine species the industry is based on viewing. Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is the current president of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association.
Wilderness Tourism Association
The WTA is an organization of adventure tourism operators. Through involvement with government and public and private enterprise the WTA works to ensure the ongoing viability of nature based tourism by protecting the wilderness tourism land base. Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is a past director of the Wilderness Tourism Association.
Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association
The GHTOA was formed to foster quality, ethics and communication among Gwaii Haanas tour operators and to represent the interests of the tour operators, their clients and the public to the Haida Nation, the BC government and the Federal government, regarding issues related to Gwaii Haanas.
Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia
The Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC (CBVA) was formed to promote sustainable bear viewing in British Columbia and aid in the protection of wild bears and their ecosystems.
Whale Interpretive Centre
The Whale Interpretive Centre is located in Telegraph Cove, BC and run by the non-profit Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretive Centre Society (JSKWICS). Our guides have helped recover a rare beaked whale carcass, helped in whale necropsies, and collected invertebrate collections for their exhibits.
Marine Education and Research Society
The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) is a group of dedicated northern Vancouver Island marine biologists and educators. Kingfisher guides often provide whale sighting reports to these researchers and have contributed photos to their humpback whale entanglement study. Prior to the start of every season MERS conducts a naturalist training session with our kayak guides.
Cetacean Sightings Network
The Cetacean Sightings Network collects sightings of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and sea turtles from British Columbia and surrounding waters. Our guides provide sighting reports of whales from our kayak tours, especially in the under reported and less visited areas like the Great Bear Rainforest.
Vancouver Island North Tourism
Vancouver Island North Tourism focuses on the promotion of tourism on northern Vancouver Island as a whole and represents the communities of Alert Bay, Coal Harbour, Holberg, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Quatsino, Sointula, Telegraph Cove, Winter Harbour and Woss. Kingfisher’s owner, Andrew Jones, is the chair of the Vancouver Island North Tourism Advisory Committee
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures Ltd. values your privacy and does not rent or sell personal information about you with other people or companies. All inquiries and personal information is held strictly confidential. Only authorized employees and contractors have access to this information and have agreed to keep information secure and confidential.
Collection of Personal Information
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures Ltd. collects personally identifiable information, like names, postal addresses, email addresses, etc., when submitted by our visitors. The information you provide is used to fulfill your specific request. Any e-mail newsletters provide an option to opt out of future e-mailings.
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If you have any questions about this privacy statement, please contact us.