How many people will be on my guided kayaking tour?
AWE Adventures is committed to quality over quantity. We mostly use lower than industry standard ratios with a maximum of 10 guests to 2 guides, although we can accommodate groups up to 12. Our custom tours can accommodate much larger groups. Please contact us for more information.
Tell me about my guides. What makes them the best?
Our guides are certified by the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia, one of the most respected certifying bodies in the industry worldwide. On top of that, our guides are hand picked based on their respect for you, the customer, the environment, and themselves. Each one of us has a passion for facilitating experiences in this incredible area. We are dedicated trip leaders, talented wilderness cooks, interpretively trained about the wildlife and ecosystem around us and certified wilderness first responders. Of course, above all of that burns our passion. We truly love this area and find ourselves privileged to share it with you.
How far do we paddle each day?
While routes will vary based on weather, group ability and wildlife, we normally paddle 10-15 km per day. Sometimes, we will do 20 km in one day especially on our 7-day expedition.
What is your environmental footprint?
One of our company principles is a low environmental footprint. Kayaking is self-propelled which is a low impact by nature. The majority of our footprint is made up when we prepare tours, when we clean up a tour, and how we live when not paddling. We do everything we can to keep this low by utilizing solar and wind power, collecting rainwater and by reducing, reusing, and recycling effectively. Our staff accommodation is entirely off-the-grid, as is our office and staging area. It is not just pretty words, AWE Adventures walks the walk.
Will I see the orcas?
The orcas follow the salmon migrations into the area around mid-late July and leave mid-September. Please book within those dates for opportunities to see them. Our guides have a deep understanding of the area and the patterns used by the orcas. We will do our best to be in the right place at the right time, however natural wildlife follows its own patterns. An average kayaking group travels at 1.5 knots per hour. Orcas can swim up to 24 knots per hour. In our experience, those who come with an open mind leave us more fulfilled. Those who come with high expectations on seeing the orcas tend to miss out on a lot of the other beauty in the area. This ecosystem boasts one of the most prolific orca habitats in the world, but we like to respect the whole cast, not just the superstars.
What are the toilets like?
On AWE Adventures tours, we focus on getting back to nature, including bathrooms. Please prepare yourselves for a more primitive bathroom, as we are often in the forest or on the beach to do our business. Some campsites have outhouses, while others do not. Often, our lunch stops do not have outhouses. We use proper “leave no trace” procedures to ensure our environment stays clean and wild forever. To be clear, this means we will be doing most of our business on the beach where the high tide will flush it away.
What do I need to pack?
We recommend either a hard sole neoprene booty, closed toe sandals, or an old runner/tennis shoe. If using a running shoe, please bring at least 2 pairs of thick wool socks or 1 pair of neoprene socks to wear underneath the shoe. The wool/neoprene will act as insulation even when wet.
Paddling clothing (two sets, and we will provide paddling pants & jackets)
- x2 synthetic pants: hiking pants, quick dry materials, exercise pants, thermal long underwear
- x1 swimming shorts: you will wear these on top of our paddling pants to protect the pants from friction. On the sunny days, you can use your shorts to paddle in or go for a swim if you decide to brave our cold waters
- x2 synthetic shirts (long and/or short sleeve): exercise shirts, polyester, merino wool, etc.
- x1 synthetic sweater/mid layer
- x3 wool/synthetic socks or x1 neoprene sock
- Cap and sunglasses
We recommend polyester, wool, or other quick drying materials. Please leave your cotton items at home. Cotton can stay wet for a long time and make us cold! Using many layers will be more comfortable and manageable than using one or two heavy layers.
- Comfortable synthetic pants (hiking pants, running pants)
- Comfortable shirts and sweater (remember, no cotton!)
- Thermal long underwear/base layers
- At least 2 pairs of warm socks and underwear
- Puffy jacket/warm sweater
- Rain jacket and pants (seperate from the paddling jacket and pants we will give you)
- Comfortable, supportive footwear (light hikers, running shoes, rubber boots, etc)
- Cap and/or toque (beanie)
Items (guides will provide toilet paper)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Any other personal cosmetics
- Sunglasses and glasses cleaning cloth
Will I be paddling a single kayak or double kayak?
Our tours use mostly double kayaks however we can accommodate single kayak requests based upon prior experience. Please put a note in your booking request and we will contact you further. We reserve the right to refuse single kayaks for any reason.
When are my best chances to see wildlife generally?
Many of the species we see in our area are seasonal however the diversity is so rich that we can see incredible wildlife at all times of the season. Some species, like the harbour seal and humpback whale spend the entire summer and longer in the area. The Steller sea lion is always around as well, but is most abundant in the early and late seasons. The northern resident orcas follow the salmon migrations into the area around mid-July and stay until mid-September, while the Biggs transient killer whale spend their entire lives roaming up and down the Pacific coast. This area will awe you at any time!
Is there cell phone service while on tour?
While some of our campsites do have cell service, many do not. Please do not expect to have a reliable connection at any time during the tour. Emergency communication and daily check-ins are passed through VHF Marine Radio and InReach Satellite Emergency Devices.
How do I get there?
Telegraph Cove is accessed mainly by road. The quickest option will be to fly into Port Hardy, BC. The drive from Port Hardy to Telegraph Cove is approximately 45 minutes. Comox, BC is the next closest airport, about a 3-hour drive from Telegraph Cove.
Many of our guests take a ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island (Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver – Departure Bay, Nanaimo or Tsawassen, Vancouver – Sydney, Victoria). The drive north up highway 19 to the Telegraph Cove turnoff is about 400kms north of Nanaimo.
How long does it take to drive from Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, Campbell River, Comox, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, etc.?
Driving times to Telegraph Cove:
- From Victoria: 5.5-6 hours
- From Nanaimo: 4 hours
- From Comox: 3 hours
- From Campbell River: 2-2.5 hours
- From Port McNeill: 20-30 minutes
- From Port Hardy: 45-60 minutes
What time should I arrive? What time do we get back?
Please be at our location at 8:30AM the morning of your tour. Generally, we return at 3PM on the last day of your tour. However, we may return earlier or later due to weather conditions. AWE Adventures will not be held responsible for any missed travel connections due to a late arrival on the last day of your tour. We recommend leaving extra time in between our return home and your next travel plans.
Are tips included?
Tipping is not included in the cost of your tour. While any tip is appreciated, it is not required. Standard tipping amounts in Canada range from 10-20% of tour cost. However, any amount is accepted with gratitude!
Where do we camp?
AWE Adventures holds all required permits to camp in the marine parks surrounding the area. Campsites will change depending on conditions and the group, but rest assured that our experienced guides will pick the best campsite based on all factors, including wildlife and weather conditions. We have multiple options in the Johnstone Strait, Blackfish Sound and the Broughton Archipelago. Our high quality camping systems are versatile and portable to ensure we can be in the best spots for your tour.
I have no kayaking experience, can I still come on a tour?
Absolutely! Our 3-day kayaking tour and 5-day kayaking tour in Johnstone Strait are perfect for those without prior kayaking experience. We do recommend having some experience on our 7-day tour. Please don’t forget, kayaking is a self-propelled sport and involves hard work. The only way to move forward is to paddle — there are no shortcuts!
Can you accommodate my dietary restrictions (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten-free) or allergies?
With enough notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions. Please contact us directly to create a menu for your tour.
What will I see?
You’re 100% guaranteed to see one of the most diverse and beautiful marine environments in the world. Many animals call this area home including but not limited to:
- Harbour seals
- Dahls porpoise
- Bull kelp forests
- Sea urchin colonies
- Harbour porpoise
- Bald eagles
- Steller sea lions
- Limpits, chitons, and perrywinkles
- Rhinoceros auklet
- Common murre
- Pacific whitesided dolphins
- River otters
- Sea otters
- Minke whale
- Humpback whale
- Killer whale
- And more…
Please remember, this is wildlife. Our guides are some of the most experienced in the area and will use their understanding of the tides, currents, wildlife, weather, and group abilities to maximize wildlife viewings. However we cannot guarantee these viewings as wild animals are free to roam where they please. The unexpected joy and awe of wildlife viewing is a big part of the excitement and emotion when we see them.
What are the sleeping accommodations like while on tour?
We use expedition quality backpacking tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and cots. When we paddle to camp, we will set up tents and cots, pump up the mats and unstuff our sleeping bags. The gear is great but we are adventure camping, not glamping!
What equipment is provided?
All equipment is provided except for water shoes, paddling gloves, and personal items and clothing. Our equipment is some of the highest quality offered on Vancouver Island, guaranteed! Fiberglass kayaks, fiberglass paddles, dry pants, breathable paddling jackets, paddling specific PFDs, and more.
Our deluxe camping equipment features backpacking tents that can withstand the worst of the wind and rain, cots with mats with expedition quality sleeping bags, and personal camp chairs to relax in all weather conditions. We carry full wilderness kitchens with us everywhere we go. Experience some of the most beautiful kitchens you have ever seen where your guides will cook you delicious meals everyday
Why don’t you provide water shoes?
Our beaches are often rocky, wet, and slippery from falling tides. Most sea kayaking injuries happen walking up and down these beaches. Having well-fitting, supportive footwear with a hard sole is the most effective way to reduce the chances of injury. You will be better than us at finding the right shoe for your foot.
Can I charge my phone or camera batteries?
No, we will not have any power on tour. You can bring a portable power bank to charge your electronic goods if you wish.
What if I am injured or have an emergency on tour?
Depending on the severity of your injury, your guide will take appropriate action to manage the situation. Serious medical emergencies will result in a Coast Guard assisted evacuation. Emergencies of a personal nature unrelated to the tour will be at your own cost as will any evacuations required due to a previous physical or mental inability to complete the tour.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Our predominant weather in summer is high pressure and nice weather. That being said, we are very close to the tip of Vancouver Island, which is located in a temperate rainforest, and can be subject to heavy storms, even during the summer. Part of the wonder of our area is the remote and harsh beauty. Storms will come, all we can do is come prepared! Make sure you follow our packing list and bring a good attitude, we will do the rest.
Where can I stay before and after my trip?
Telegraph Cove offers a variety of campgrounds, hotel, cabins and houses for rent. Port McNeill offers hotels, AirBnb, and more. Port Hardy offers accommodation as well, but it is farther away from Telegraph Cove.
Where do I park?
AWE Adventures offers free, secure parking for the duration of your tour, rental or self guided trip. We are the only company in Telegraph Cove to offer free parking for non-guided tours. Park, pack, and launch all in our private waterfront location. Bathrooms are onsite too!
Are there showers onsite?
There are no showers while on tour. Telegraph Cove has multiple options for public showers. Most of them require $1 coins (loonies).
Can I swim while on tour?
Yes! Our waters are cold though, 10℃. It is too cold for most but we have had some guests go for dips. Proper footwear must be used while swimming.