MERS Fundraiser Kayak Tour 2019-03-08T15:00:48+00:00



MERS auction

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures and the Marine Education & Research Society (MERS) have teamed up to bring you to the heart of Johnstone Strait off the northeastern corner of Vancouver Island. This area is recognized as one of the most predictable places in the world to see humpback whales and killer whales (orcas) in their natural habitat.

This fundraising trip takes you to Kingfisher’s Hanson Island base camp. The camp is where Weynton Passage connects Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Straits – a humpback whale hot spot. From the comfort of the base camp we explore the variety of kayaking routes the area has to offer. Humpback whales regularly feed in the waters surrounding the camp. Not only do we hope to see whales while kayaking, but we often see them right from camp while enjoying the morning’s first cup of French-pressed organic coffee or a dinner of locally caught salmon around the campfire. The nearby waters are also home to harbour seals, sea lions, porpoises, and rich intertidal life.

One of your guides will be Kingfisher owner Andrew Jones who has been kayaking these waters for over twenty years. All Kingfisher guides are well acquainted with the natural history, whales, and other wildlife of British Columbia’s coast, knowledge which they eagerly share.

MERS researchers Jackie Hildering and Christie McMillan will in the area conducting humpback whale studies from their vessel while we are kayaking. The researchers will join us that evening back at camp where they will share insight into the studies and the important work they do over dinner and around the campfire.

All funds raised, not just profit, from this tour are donated to the Marine Education & Research Society (MERS). MERS is a registered Canadian charity based on northern Vancouver Island dedicated to promoting conservation and understanding of marine ecosystems through scientific research, environmental education, and marine wildlife response. Their research is focused on investigating Humpback and Minke Whales in British Columbia but has also included work to understand and reduce risks to additional marine mammals in BC and in other parts of the world. They are a small organization doing big work.

Dates: September 21 and 22, 2019.

Departs: Telegraph Cove, BC, Vancouver Island.

Price: $750 CAD per person plus 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Group Size: Maximum of ten guests and two guides.

Participants: This tour is adult-oriented but participants as young as 15 may be accepted. Solo travels may need to share a tent with another guest of the same gender.

Suitability: Beginner to advanced kayakers. Is this tour right for you?

Includes: We provide you with all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jackets, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags (you may bring your own). A list of required personal items will be supplied upon booking. All meals from lunch on day one to lunch on day two are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Telegraph Cove by our network of vans and water taxis.

What is not included: We do not provide transport from your home to Telegraph Cove, nor do we provide airport transfers. Pre- or post-trip accommodation in Telegraph Cove or Port McNeill is not included. Any meals outside the kayak portion of the tour are your responsibility. Travel insurance for accidents or emergency evacuation is not provided; we recommend you purchase a policy before leaving home. The trip price does not include guide gratuities; should you feel that the service was exemplary, it is always appreciated.

Day 1: We meet at 9:00 am in the morning at the Telegraph Cove to head down to the marina to load our water taxi.

The 45 minute water taxi ride takes us to our base camp. Upon arrival at the base camp your guides provide a site orientation, plus a kayak and safety briefing. We kayak for a short time before lunch, giving you time to get used to the kayaks and the wilderness setting. The afternoon is spent kayaking and viewing the area's diverse wildlife. The MERS researchers will join us for dinner and will share insight into the studies and the important work they do.

Meals Included: Lunch – Dinner

Day 2: On the last day, we enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out for one last kayak paddle. Returning to camp for a late lunch, you then pack up your gear, and snap a few last photographs. Our water taxi picks us up for a 4:00 pm return to Telegraph Cove.

Meals Included: Breakfast – Lunch

This tour departs from Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island.

If driving to Telegraph Cove from the mainland of British Columbia you need to sail on BC Ferries from the Vancouver area to either Nanaimo or Victoria on Vancouver Island. From Washington State, Coho Ferry sails between Port Angeles and Victoria. Drive time from Victoria to Port McNeill is approximately 5.5 hours and from Nanaimo to Port McNeill is approximately 4 hours.

Driving to Telegraph Cove is quite straight forward. From Victoria drive north on highway 1 to Nanaimo. From Nanaimo head north on Highway 19 until you see the sign for Telegraph Cove, which is 15 minutes off the main highway. The only other option to this route is north of Nanaimo just before you reach Parksville you can take the seaside route on Highway 19A. This route rejoins the main Highway 19 at Campbell River. The seaside route may add an extra hour to your trip.

Tofino Bus operates once daily bus service between Victoria and Port McNeill. Connections can be made from Vancouver in Nanaimo.

Flights to Port Hardy (YZT), the closest airport to Telegraph Cove, depart from the south terminal of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. These flights are operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Port Hardy airport is a 50 minute taxi ride from Telegraph Cove.

If flying with Air Canada or one of its partners, and you are not planning to visit Vancouver, you may want to check on flying to either Nanaimo (YCD), Victoria (YYJ), Comox (YQQ), or Campbell River (YBL) on Vancouver Island. While you would still need to rent a car or take the bus it saves you the time and cost of the ferry.

Another option is to fly via Calgary (YYC) or Edmonton (YEG) to Comox (YQQ) on Vancouver Island with WestJet Airlines. Comox is about 2 1/2 hour drive south of Telegraph Cove.

Kenmore Air operates float plane service to Port McNeill from Seattle, Washington.

Recommended Telegraph Cove Accommodations:

Telegraph Cove Resort

Recommended Port McNeill Accommodations:

Black Bear Resort
Haida Way Motor Inn
Dalewood Inn

Below is what you should be bringing on your kayak tour. We provide everything else.

While the summer months in British Columbia are mostly warm and sunny, we still have a few cold and wet days. After all, the coast of British Columbia is the world's largest temperate rainforest. For maximum enjoyment on your trip in all types of weather please bring the items listed below.

It is important that your clothing be made of synthetic materials or wool to retain their warmth when wet. Most synthetics also have the advantage of being quick drying. Avoid cotton clothing because they lack warmth if wet and take a very long time to dry. All of the items listed below need to fit into four dry bags (which we supply). If you have any questions on what you need to bring please feel free to contact us.

Sleeping bag - fits into 40 litre dry bag
We supply sleeping bags, liners, and pillows to all guests but if you prefer to bring your own we recommend:
● A three season synthetic insulated bag

Clothing - fits into 20 litre dry bag
Please bring everything listed. There is duplication and you may not need everything, but in the event of getting wet or cold you will be glad you have it. While many people consider long underwear to be a winter item it can make a world of difference on a cool summer evening and can double as leggings under shorts during the day. The biggest heat loss area is the head and a warm hat can add immensely to your comfort.

● 2 pairs of pants
● 2 short sleeve shirts
● 2 sweaters or fleece jackets
● 2 to 3 pairs of socks
● 1 sets of long underwear
● 2 to 3 pairs of underwear
● 1 swimsuit
● 1 baseball cap or sun hat
● 1 wool or fleece cap

Rain gear - fits into 10 litre dry bag
We provide waterproof kayaking jackets but you still need rain gear for around camp. Rain gear does not need to be breathable but it should be be waterproof - not water-repellent.
● 1 waterproof rain jacket with hood or rain hat
● 1 pair of waterproof rain pants

Personal items - fits into 10 litre dry bag
● Toiletries
● Sun screen
● Sunglasses with a retainer
● Prescription eyeglasses or contacts
● Spare eyeglasses or contacts
● Wet Wipes
● Synthetic camp towel
● Medication
● Insect repellent
● Flashlight and batteries
● Camera
● Extra digital storage and batteries

Footwear – either worn or packed loose
● sandals or shoes you can get wet
● Walking or running shoes (preferably waterproofed)

● Rubber boots (some guests prefer these instead of wet shoes or sandals for kayaking. But, if you go too deep when entering or exiting your kayak the boots will be wet for the remainder of the trip).
● Wool or fleece gloves or mitts (if your hands easily get cold these are good to have for the evenings)
● Paddling or cycling gloves (we provide kayaking mitts for warmth, but if you are prone to blisters you may find cycling or paddling gloves to be beneficial).

While each of our kayak tours and routes will vary based on possible wildlife sightings, currents, tides and weather the below map highlights the general area that our base camp kayak tour operates in.

Charts: You do not need to bring charts on this kayak tour. Your guides have charts of the area and will review them with guests each day. If you wish to bring your own chart(s) they are listed below. Each chart is linked to the corresponding page on the Canadian Hydrographic Service's website and you can search where to buy these charts locally (links will open in a new window).

3546 - Broughton Strait - 1:40,000

Book Now - Risk Free

Use our secure online booking system below to secure your spot(s). Your payment is fully refundable for 72 hours after your booking. This gives you three days to sort out travel plans and ensure you don't lose your spot(s). If you can't make the trip, let us know by phone or email within 72 hours of booking for a full refund.

If you prefer to book by phone, please give us a call toll free in North America at 1-866-546-3437 or internationally call +1-250-956-4617. If you have questions on any of our kayak tours please give us a call or send us an email.

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Please note our cancellation policy

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB cards. Please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars and that 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be added to the price of each tour.

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