This is the first of my series of ‘oldies’ I am reposting from my archives to give new followers a taste of what they can expect to find on my blog. Peggy and I made a trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 2014 to go kayaking among the orca whales. The next post in the series can be found here: https://wandering-through-time-and-place.com/2014/10/30/
I was nervous as we drove into the town of Port McNeill on the northeast shore of Vancouver Island in August. Peggy and I had signed up for a six-day sea kayak tour out of Telegraph Cove with Sea Kayak Adventures.We would be searching for orcas, which are also known as killer whales—as our son Tony, the Alaska Coast Guard pilot, reminded us. A little Jaws music, perhaps?
“Okay, Curt, what have you gotten yourself into this time?” was bouncing around in my skull like a kangaroo on steroids. It’s a question I ask myself often.
I wasn’t nervous about the whales, however. I’ve spent my life communing with nature. Besides, these particular giants are gentle, relatively speaking; they get fat off the salmon in Johnstone Strait. They don’t need to eat people. But sea kayaking would be a first for me. The old dog had to learn new tricks, and that is always a reason to get excitable. Fortunately, Peggy and I had played around a fair amount with inflatable kayaks. We had even ventured out on challenging multi-day lake trips into remote areas such as Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan and Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. So how hard could it be?
I confess I was more nervous about the idea of being on a tour. I am not much of a tour group person. This is a strange statement coming from someone who spent over a quarter of a century leading backpacking and bicycle fundraising treks for the American Lung Association. But the truth is— I am an independent cuss. I like to go where I want to go and stop when I want to stop. On an organized tour, I would be expected, even required, to adhere to the group schedule and itinerary. This isn’t a complaint. It has to be that way on group outings. Common sense and liability demand it.
And then there were the people. We’d be living closely with these folks for six days under potentially trying conditions. What would our guides be like? How about our fellow tour group members? Would we get along well? Would they be strange— even stranger than I am?
Regardless of how nervous I felt, the trip was simply too much of an opportunity to pass up. Like how could I not go on a sea kayaking adventure out among the orcas in beautiful British Columbia? As for Peggy, she is always up for adventure. When our friends Edie and David from Anchorage, Alaska called and asked if we would be interested in going, we gave a resounding yes. It turned out to be great decision. The guides, our fellow tour group members, and the incredible views were delightful. Even the orcas cooperated.
Today marks the beginning of my series on the trip. I’ll start by exploring the quaint town of Port McNeill. In my next post, we will climb in our kayaks and push-off from Telegraph Cove. The orcas are waiting. Let the adventure begin.
39 thoughts on “Kayaking among the Orcas/Killer Whales of British Columbia…”
This looks to be a great trip… I’m not much oaf a tour group person either but doing something like this, i think having others along is what makes it so much fun. can’t wait to see the rest of the trip!
Welcome aboard, Lynne, as they say nautically. 🙂 The group was definitely fun. –Curt
I can’t wait for the next issue. The fish looked nice and so did the kayaks. Let’s hope you all get on all right. with each other and the orcas.
Glad you’re hooked, Gerard. 🙂 And the salmon tasted as good as he looked. -Curt
The whole post was worth it to see you in a skirt 🙂
Glad to see you enjoyed me and my mini-slirt Alison. 🙂 Woohoo! I am expecting requests from modeling agencies at any moment. –Curt
That first shot is beautivul. Fabulous and fun! Brings back great memories of Telegraph Cove, Port McNeil and the orcas, and the grizzlies up the Knight Inlet. Truly glorious and I know you had an incredible time. We want to go back!
So we are traveling in your footsteps, Cindy. I don’t recall whether you kayaked or explored the area via tour boat, but it is beautiful whatever the conveyance. We didn’t get out to see the grizzlies, but we did have one black bear.
There is something about the kayaks alone out in the water that makes a good photo. Peggy and I have a couple more we will share. –Curt
Fun intro – can’t wait for the next report of your adventure. – Ginette
Glad you enjoyed the post and my slightly warped sense of humor, Ginette. More to come… 🙂 –Curt
There’s a huge difference between the AARP bus and what you’re involved in here. A small group, with some knowledgeable guides for a new adventure, is just fine by me, even though I, too, enjoy the freedom of just getting up and going.
I do like that large burl. I swear — every place in the world has a claim to fame!
Laughing about the ‘claim to fame,’ Linda. I first started noting the tendency of having a ‘draw’ when I travelled through North America for a year in 1999-2000. Canada’s included the world’s largest beehive, the world’s largest golf ball and I am sure several more that I have forgotten. It was the same in the US. The Corn Palace comes to mind. It seems everyone wants their claim to fame— that slight edge to draw the tourist dollars. And why not. It’s fun.
Definitely not your AARP bus tour. I encourage folks to get on the bus, however. There is much to be seen and experienced that way. But, as you have probably noted, Peggy and I choose to travel in a slightly different way. (grin) –Curt
Oooh wow – how very cool!! Love the photos and look forward to the rest of the “series” 🙂
A lot shorter than your ‘walk,” but filled with plenty of adventure and beauty. 🙂 –Curt
Well, judging by the photos you all had a ball! Look forward to more…
That we did. It was quite the cast of characters. Although there were a few challenges, as to be expected on an adventure. 🙂 –C
I am so, so envious. The last time I wore a spray skirt and went serious canoeing (kayaking), I was about 15 years old. i’m convinced I could manage a paddle still…
I bet you could Hilary. Peggy and I took our inflatables out on a lake near us several times before the trip— just to mind ourselves we could still paddle, and to strengthen our paddling muscles. We were very glad we did. –Curt
Curt, I gotta ask… Did your voice get an octave higher donning on your…skirt? LOL
I have been waiting to read about this adventure… and as I alluded (and you did not apparently acknowledge) kayaking out on the ocean to meet Orcas was, well, you know… then you acknowledged it in your first sentence: “nervous”! LMAO
But once again, your photos complement your thoughts so well. And as a favor, can you please introduce me to the lady who dons those bras? 🙂
Oops sorry I didn’t acknowledge. As you know, Koji, I normally hang on your every word. 🙂
I did have to learn a new skill putting on the skirt. LOL
Wouldn’t the ladies be fun? I thought the whole idea was wonderfully creative from a fund raising perspective. Apparently it is done in a number of areas. The money raised goes into breast cancer research. –Curt
Curtis, I thought you looked quite dapper in your skirt. You wore it well. I look forward to your future blogs about our amazing trip. The photos brought back some incredible memories of the sights and of our amazing group. Thank you!
And you, my anonymous friend, are quite welcome. Glad you enjoyed blog number one. Number two is being written now. The orca is about to breach. 🙂 Feel free to sign your name. That’s what Peggy has to do. Curt
Curtis, I don’t want to remain “anonymous”. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
Marvelous shots, C. Love you all pretty and all. Surprised you would be nervous about anything. =) You have yet to bore us on your adventures!
Thanks, D. I am always nervous about new adventures. It is the unknown factor, like how am I going to survive this. 🙂 Smiling about the bore business. I certainly don’t want to bore anyone. I remember distinctly being bored once back in 1970. It’s no fun. –Curt
Nice knowing you struggle like that on the threshold of the unknown. Makes you more human!
Learning new skills in public is always worrisome. The adventure itself was more civilized than most I go on… the difference between being with guides and having all the details taken care of as opposed to being out there on my own. 🙂
What a smashing and fun intro to the new series, Curt! 🙂 You look absolutely stunning! 😀
We’re much looking forward to the following up stories.
You are such the adventurer and make it fun for your readers.
Glad you enjoy my tales, Lulu. I always have fun relating them. –Curt
I rather like Batwoman.
Having braved the mosquitoes in Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park, one can see how kayaking with orcas wouldn’t bother you. 🙂
Laughing. Yeah, what’s an orca or two. Or a whole pod! 🙂 I’d throw in mosquitos in Maine and Alaska and in the Sierra’s in early summer. –Curt
That sounds like a lot of fun (unless the winds pick up). Although I’m a bit of an independent cus myself, I’ve found most tour groups to be fun. I don’t know if it’s a traveler’s/adventurer’s mentality, or just being away from the routine and on your best (better?) behavior, but it seems to work out.
We rarely do tour groups, Dave. For the same reason. This was a good group, however. —Curt
long story, short: I ❤ BC… 🙂 fun and pleasant post, comme d'habitude… 🙂
Lots to love up there, Melanie! Peggy and I feel the same way. –Curt