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“It really was the "Johnstone Strait Ultimate"”

Spirit of the West Adventures
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Spirit of the West kayaking Adventures has been offering sea kayaking tours and trips around Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, since 1996. Our most popular tours travel to the orca waters of Johnstone Strait, British Columbia to kayak in the realm of the whales. We also offer trips to Desolation Sound, the Broughton Archipelago, Nuchatlitz Marine Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. We also offer tours to the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas and Chilean Patagonia during the North American winter.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Vancouver, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“It really was the "Johnstone Strait Ultimate"”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

Hot showers, great food, a salt water wood-fired hot tub, good quality tents with wood platforms, snug-fitting tarps and spectacular views, pillows, blankets, kayaking, hiking, terrific guides and lots of orcas…it couldn't have been any better. Except that it was! The weather was perfect and we had such a fun group of new friends to share the adventure with. This is an excellent trip for those who want to experience the water and wildlife of BC's beautiful coast in a wilderness location without the primitive amenities, mud/dirt, and cold water that often goes along with camping. We loved it.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Tad02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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138 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Didsbury, UK
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Outstanding!”
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Exceeded expectations, the guides; Sam, Todd and Will are exceptional. Camp location fabulous. Food plentiful and amazingly tasty.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank HazelJ10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great family trip!”
Reviewed 31 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I wanted to do a memorable special trip with our older teens. We had limited time! Rivers and Oceans, a travel outfit based in Flagstaff AZ (see separate review) set us up for the Ultimate Trip. 3 out of our family of 4 like to camp - so for the sake of the 4th we choose the Ultimate trip with the base camp. The on demand hot shower was key for her! The hot tub is also for real and very pleasant!

We love outdoor vacations with critters, great views and quiet. We loved all that on this trip. We lucked out on orca viewing and even saw a bear on shore! The tidal shore critters and kelp beds were amazing. The overall ambiance of the camp and views were outstanding.

The tents with platforms and good thermarests were great. We didn't have rain, but would have been well protected in tents if needed! The food was good with nice touches like warm bevs at lunch. My husband could have used a bit more protein in some meals, but overall it was good.

The boating gear, spray skirts, etc were well cared for and in good shape. The paddling was great. The guides were very safety oriented, but not pushy.

My husband and I are concerned about conservation with probably "above average knowledge", though not in this region. The Johnson Straite area is fascinating in this regard. There's a mix of ecotourism, logging, lots of commercial and recreational boat traffic of all sizes and shapes, marine mammal science and monitoring, salmon, etc. We found the area to be a "working wilderness" and were very interested and impressed by what we saw and learned. The trip guides were informative and fairly balanced, which we appreciated.

It is important to take the right clothing. The gear list was good - so be sure to follow it and ask questions if you're not familiar with how to dress! We rented their rain gear, which was a great move! It is a specialized type the has comfortable adjustable gaskets at wrist and ankle to keep (most) water out. After the first day, I wore the rain gear over shorts and a thermal shirt and was very comfortable and warm. My regret was foot ware - I wore river sandals. My feet were clammy and cold and they weren't great for walking in the slick rocks and kelp. The guides seemed to wear various types if wet suit type booties with some light tread - I was envious of those! Anyway - just be sure to plan that part well! You kind of neat 3 sets of thermal ware - one for boating, reserve/extra layer for boating, and dry stuff for camp. And then very little else!

Overall - a great experience, with many lasting feelings and images to cherish and think back on!

Helpful?
1 Thank elkhornranchaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A wonderful start to a great holiday”
Reviewed 30 July 2014

Our party of 8, two families with older teenage children, did the 4 day Johnstone Strait Ultimate Tour in July 2014, with our guides Sam, Todd and Will. Although we didn`t see any Orcas, it was undoubtedly a brilliant experience for everyone. The camping facilities are excellent, each of the tents having a lot of privacy and a stunning view. As someone who suffers habitual poor sleep, I had some excellent nights sleep there, as did another in our party with the same problem. The food was likewise excellent. The kayaking was tough and very enjoyable and the guides were all knowledgeable and very responsive to the needs of each the guests, and there was a very strong sense that this company is one which aims to provide a very high standard of service. We would definitely go back and do another trip with Spirit of the West.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Bob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SOWAdventures, Owner at Spirit of the West Adventures, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to review your trip with us. We are so happy to hear that your familes had such a great time even if the orcas didn't co-operate with you. You did get some tough weather and good on you for making the most of the wind. We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed the camp, guides, food etc. I must agree with you I have some of the best sleeps of my life out there, all that fresh air and the sound of the waves at night. Thanks again and we do hope to see all of you again some day soon.
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Stirling, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Holiday highlight - Spirit of the West, sea kayaking in BC.”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

We went on the Johnstone Strait Ultimate trip in mid July and it was fabulous. Great weather, great kayaking, great company, spring tides, wildlife aplenty including a bear on a nearby beach daily at low tide, and a glorious moonrise. Orcas on the way in. Humpbacks, Dalls porpoise and white sided dolphin, salmon aplenty and bald eagles galore, and that's without the sea life - sea cucumber, Ochre starfish and seastars.
And then there were the guides: Sam, Ashley and Fia did a superb job. Confident, competent and complimentary to each other's skills. Between them, extemely knowledgeable about the wildlife, the area and the sea, and with exceptional people skills. Just the right balance for our family of : care, letting us get on with it, and full blown support i.e. getting towed! Sam's chat with our son left him inspired to know that sea kayak guiding was a real job that you could do. It certainly got him thinking about the future!
Hot tub after getting in the sea, either by jumping or just going in was excellent - and cleaned out and refilled after each group. Plenty of places around camp to relax and chill out.
Teas and coffee was always available and the food was very good. Lots of fresh fruit and veg in every meal, and plenty of snacks to keep you going. If you do want wine or beer or something in particular you should just bring it along yourself, but there was plenty of everything on offer.
For us, this was the highlight of our trip and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others (have already!). We definitely hope to be back either to this tour or to one of the others. Thanks to the team.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank AliMo66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SOWAdventures, Owner at Spirit of the West Adventures, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Wow, thank you for your incredibly kind words about your trip and our company. We do try hard to make sure you have a great vacation so it is always nice to hear that everything has come together and you had a great experience. We are also so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world, with great staff, pleantiful wildlife and great guests such as yourselves. We will be sure to pass on your rave reviews to the crew. We would be happy to share more details about gudining with your son anytime. We do hope to see you again on the water soon.
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