Kayaking Johnstone Strait

Johnstone Strait is one of the best places near Vancouver Island to see Orca whales and Pacific White-sided dolphins.  Here you can see both northern residents and transient Orcas. Pacific White sided dolphins often travel in large pods here. By Kayak you can experience the excited chatter as the dolphins play around you. The wildlife combined with the rainforest, mountains in the background and variety in scenery, makes Johnstone Straight the perfect area to explore by kayak.

Plan at least a few days here for the best chance at Orca encounters.

Along the north end is Telegraph Cove and Robson Bight. Telegraph Cove is the launching point for many bear and whale watching tours. Robson Bight is a small bay at the west end of Johnstone Strait  that is home to a protected killer whale habitat famous for its whale-rubbing beaches.


There are not many camping spots here and this strait gets a fair amount of visitors, so it is best to have a plan for staying the night. The Broughton Archipelago it is less crowded. 

Possible Wildlife:

Orca (Killer) whales, Pacific White sided dolphins (depending on the season), Dall’s Porpoise, Stellar Sea lions, seals, Sea otters, Bald Eagles and many other types of birds.

Safety Tips:

  • Fog, choppy water, and large ships are common here. Cruise ships cause a large wake, be prepared and leave lots of space.
  • Strong currents and rip tides happen here, so make sure you plan your itinerary with a local kayaker.
  • The flood tide flows down island toward Campbell River and the ebb tide flows up, traveling north.
  • This trip is for experienced kayakers or kayakers with guides.
  • Rain is a strong possibility so make sure you have the right wet gear