Kayaking With Orcas in the Johnstone Strait, Vancouver Island

See article in Active Over 50.

All photos (see below) except the first were taken by our guide, Sophie Ballagh. Sophie had a much better camera than I did. Plus, as the guide she was the boss and was able to put herself in the best position to catch photos of the orcas swimming by (just kidding…). This trip inspired me to spend the money for a better camera. You should see the results of my investment in later posts. You can tell me whether the investment paid off.As for info about how to get there and where to stay I suggest that you rely on the info provided by the operator, Out for Adventure. To get there I took the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and took the shuttle to Campbell River. I flew back from Campbell River. The flight was surprisingly inexpensive, but it cost me $40 taxi fare to get to the airport. Either way it will cost you time or money, which is par for the course when traveling to off-the-beaten-track adventure destinations.

I don’t have a hotel to recommend in Campbell River. The place I stayed in was OK I guess, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I thought I had booked a room on the web at the Discovery Inn, far and away the best place to stay in town, only to discover that the hotel I had actually booked for the evening was the Discovery Inn on San Juan Island in Washington State, several hundred miles away! I caught my mistake in time to cancel the reservation, but too late to get a decent rate at the Discovery Inn in Campbell River. That’s what I get for being in a hurry.

I do have a good place to recommend for dinner in Campbell River, but I can’t find the card from the restaurant. I also can’t remember the name, but from researching the web, I think it may be Quay West. I do remember that it was on the water just south of the park near the Discovery Inn (the right one). You really can’t miss it. I also can’t remember what I ate. I do remember that it was sea food and I also remember drinking a good draft IPA. It was decent place with a nice view so I figure that you can’t go wrong as long as you stick to the sea food and draft beer (from the on line reviews, it sounds like the burger is also pretty good). Besides, you’re there for the kayak trip and the orca, so all of this is ultimately beside the point.