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The West Coast at its BEST!

We did a four-day base camp with whales tour in September 2020. I have been on many kayaking trips... read more

Reviewed September 23, 2020
John G
,
Vancouver, Canada
AMAZING - MAGICAL - POWERFUL Adventure

Myself and 5 friends just returned from an AMAZING 4-day base camp "Kayak with Whales" adventure... read more

Reviewed August 16, 2020
parm0
,
Victoria, Canada
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Reviewed June 23, 2019

I recently participated in the June 2019 whales and wilderness kayak expedition with Kingfisher in the Broughton Archipelago. I attended as a solo, It was a great group of people who all had a background of outdoor adventure experience.

Our guides Sam and Kyle knocked it out of the park with a perfect blend of kayak expedition know how, keeping things fun, wildlife, native and area knowledge and of course making great food. They accented each other wonderfully with Sam always keeping his head in the game and making great but tough decisions in terms of weather related itinerary changes that were educated, safe and sound. Kyle was always checking in with everyone and making sure all of our needs and wants were met with consideration and grace. The leave no trace camping ethics are important to me and for the first time I used the toilet unit which was a bit of luxe and felt responsible.

In terms of wildlife viewing I will bring binoculars in the future as I had a hard time viewing wildlife at the 100-200 metre distance. We saw Harbour Porpoises, Sea Lions, Seals, some smaller creatures near the shore and far in the distance blowing of Humpbacks.

From start to finish Kingfisher as a company was organized, professional and considerate to deal with, for example; asking each individual for food preferences. Having all the gear and kit saved me bringing everything myself.

Many thanks for a great trip.

Date of experience: June 2019
1  Thank kezsherwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 24, 2018

Wonderfull Kayak trip around basecamp.
On our 1st day we already saw orcas and humpback whales from basecamp, sitting whit a beer watching the sun go down
We kayaked every day and met whales and sealions.
Last day they picked us early, and we went on a bear watching tour we saw grizzly and black bears
Sleeping in a tent where you can here the whales breath at night when the are passing,Wonderful
Great guides, they make the best breakfast ,lunch and diner!
Its a must do when you visit Vancouver island!

Date of experience: September 2018
1  Thank Ivar1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2019

Hi Ivar,

Thank you for joining us on a Whales and Grizzly Bears tour this past summer and taking the time to write a review and share some photos. I agree that waking in the night to hear the whales just off shore is pretty wonderful. I never get tired of it.

We hope you can join us again some time soon.

Regard,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed October 6, 2018

We nearly booked a tour with another company but so glad we went with Kingfisher. We also booked our accommodation (Black bear resort) and the separate grizzly tour through Kingfisher and more than happy with both of those. Kingfisher is very professional, extremely well organised and very respectful of the wildlife. We also felt very safe and comfortable at all times. My husband and I (both late 50s) are regular kayakers at home but this was a very special experience in a beautiful area. The wildlife is everywhere (seals, sea lions, dolphins, eagles and even a mink spotted one time) although whales are mostly some distance from the kayaks. That did not worry me. I loved just being in their territory and seeing and hearing them surface. The seals and sea lions are beautiful to watch in the water and they often followed us. We had a small humpback surface briefly and unexpectedly very close to us and I still cannot believe that happened. All the equipment was great including the camp setup. The kayaking is fairly leisurely but I was pleased at how much we did over the four days We were lucky to be in a wonderful group of people and have three terrific guides - Sabina, Cam and Tess thank you for all your hard work and great cooking. We had a month in Canada but this was definitely the highlight.

Date of experience: September 2018
1  Thank NewcastleKiwigirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2019

Hi NewcastleKiwigirl,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your trip with us and sharing some of your photos. I am glad you enjoyed your time so much. I will be sure to share your review with your guides, Tessa, Cam and Sabina.

We hope to see you on another adventure some time soon.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed October 3, 2018

Pre Trip:

At the pretrip meeting (the night before the trip began), we were informed of an unfortunate change. They told us the viewing distance for watching Orca on the water is 200 meters. I took note of this because I specifically recalled the pretrip information they provided us stating the viewing distance is 100 meters. This may seem inconsequential, but when you’re so low on the water, this turns out to be a significant change. I’ve since double-checked, the information presented on Kingfishers website is still factually incorrect and misleading. Furthermore, the website states “we avoid using imagery of whales in close proximity to our guests”. Well if you go to their homepage, the first thing you see is an Orca within 20 – 30 meters of a kayak. So don’t be fooled by the website, unless something drastically goes wrong, you will not kayak anywhere close to orcas or other whales.

Mid Trip:

Let me start off by saying that the Whales/Bears trip only constitutes two full days of kayaking. The first day is committed to transportation, orientation and the remainder of the afternoon is filled out with some paddling in the afternoon. On our trip, we had a solid first full day of kayaking watching Humpbacks and Pacific White Sided Dolphins, but that’s where the kayaking fun ended. On the second full day, we had to take it easy because people were “feeling it” (including a guide that was sick). As a result, we only kayaked roundtrip to the other Kingfisher basecamp (a few km’s each way) and only spent a few hours of actual paddling with a focus of finding sea creatures in the intertidal zone (not the intent of this trip). These details were not communicated to us by the guides at any point during the day. The last day was devoted to Grizzly Bear viewing and Tide Rip Bear Tours did a great job. It appears they are using a different outfitter next year for bear viewing, so that’s unfortunate.

One final observation that will leave a lasting impression: The oil sheen on the water is rampant. It’s really sad to think about all the marine animals living in these conditions. With all the boat traffic in this area, I doubt it will get better anytime soon.

Post Trip:

I considered giving this review a two, possibly three star review, but due to the dismissive responses I’ve received from the owner, I am left completely unsettled by this trip. In my post trip communication with the owner, he inferred that my grievances are solely my issues because I did not communicate with the guides and everybody else seemed to have a good time.

At the end of the day I will say the result of this trip was truly disappointing and a waste of my hard earned money.

In lieu of spending the great sum of money on this kayaking trip, I would recommend purchasing your own sea kayak and hiring your own guide for a personal tour of the area (it would still probably be cheaper). This would be a much more adventurous and lasting approach. Helpful hit, you can camp on Hanson Island for free!

Date of experience: August 2018
1  Thank eric82clark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2019

Hi eric82clark,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review. I am sorry you considered my responses to you as being dismissive. I had discussions with your guides and some of the other guests on your tour before my final reply to you as I do value our guests input and feedback and take it seriously. For potential future guests reading this review please contact us to learn more about the different kayak tours we offer and what to expect on each one so we can help you choose the tour that is right for you.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed September 28, 2018

We really had a perfect tour. The island is so nicely situated and it was amazing to sit at the vistapoint enjoy the sunset and watching humpback whales. Sabina, Cam and Tessa were the perfect guides-they nearly new everything about the life in and around the ocean and were a lot of fun to be around. The paddeling was great and we saw a lot of animals (humpback whales, orcas, sealions, seals, intertidal life, eagles and much more). The food was delisious-so yummy! I just would do the tour all again because of the food. ;) We also had a lovely group and I take a lot of good memories out of this trip.

Date of experience: January 2018
1  Thank Cynthia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2019

Hi Cyntia,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your Kayak With Whales base camp tour. I am happy to hear you enjoyed your time and saw lots of wildlife. I will be sure to share your review with your guides, Tessa, Cam and Sabina.

We hope to see you on the water again some time soon.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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