Picture waking up to the sound of orcas spouting as they glide through an ocean that laps at your doorstep. Magical moments like this are never out of the ordinary while on a tour with Spirit of the West Adventures. Owners Rick and Breanne have been guiding tours off Vancouver Island for nearly 20 years where guests from all over the world have connected to the power of mother nature and the wildlife that calls BC’s coast home.
Quadra Island, a small slice of paradise wedged between the mainland of BC and Vancouver Island, acts as home base for all excursion with Spirit of the West. Guests are encouraged to spend a night before and after their trip here. It’s an opportunity to ease into the slow pace of coastal life before heading into the wilderness. While on Quadra Island, guests can visit the many businesses the company supports. Coffee beans come from Aroma Speciality Coffee for daily jolts of caffeine, locally caught salmon is sourced from families that have fished these waters for decades, and fresh bread is picked up from the Lovin’ Oven Bakery. There is a dedication by the company to run a sustainable operation, and this commitment is exemplified with a Gold Certification from Green Tourism Canada, the world’s largest and most credible sustainable tourism certification.
Experiences with Spirit of the West range from four-day base camp tours in Blackfish Sound to eight-day expedition kayak trips into the Great Bear Rainforest, plus a variety of other options in between.
Whales and Wilderness Glamping Tour
If you are looking for a bit of luxury while exploring the heart of orca and humpback territory, then the four-day Whales and Wilderness Glamping tour is for you. Base camp on this trip provides guests with a walk-in canvas tent that includes a real bed, lamp, and warm bedding. An on-site chef prepares healthy, organic meals from the “Blackfish Bistro,” where guests dine at a wooden long table with covered shelter.
Daily kayaking excursions offer a chance to see orcas travelling, feeding and playing in pods through the sea, humpbacks breaching, salmon jumping, eagles soaring, and sea life thriving along the shoreline (land animal). Each day trip includes a hearty picnic for lunch on a beach tucked in a sheltered bay before heading back to camp where you’ll be greeted with a beach fire, dinner at sunset, and an evening in a wood-fired hot tub perched beside the ocean. It’s easy for mother nature to cast her spell on you here, and with all the luxuries you need, you may never want to leave.
This once-in-a-lifetime tour has received Remarkable Experience Awards from Tourism Industry Association of BC and Tourism Vancouver Island for its attention to detail, uniqueness, natural connection, local culture, and unforgettable experience.
Great Bear Rainforest Expedition
For those looking for a bit more active time in the remote wilderness, the eight-day Great Bear Rainforest expedition offers guests a chance to move between unique & undeveloped campsites each day. Spend the week exploring the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world. You’ll fill your days kayaking through some of the most diverse waterways in North America and with the chance to view whales, dolphins, sea otters, black bears, wolves, and endless intertidal wildlife. Enjoy moments of rest on white sandy beaches while learning about the First Nations culture and history of the area. This trip is for those who want to get away from it all. To experience camping beside the ocean, reflect the daily adventures by campfire, enjoy a hearty breakfast while the sun rises, and venture to explore BC’s most pristine islands and Pacific shorelines.
No matter which tour you choose, it doesn’t get more west coast than this. With years of experience taking guests into a coastal backyard, a dedication to sustainable practices, and a team of highly trained and experienced guides, a trip with Spirit of the West Adventures is a chance to have a truly unique adventure.