Kayaking in Johnstone Strait

Telegraph Cove Kayak  003Telegraph Cove Kayak  002Telegraph Cove offers a number of different tours for kayaking in Johnstone Strait with opportunities to see all sorts of wildlife.   And for those that want to see orcas, or killer whales, the best time of year to do so is during the months of July and August.

chinook2That is when the chinook salmon are running and a group of orcas called the Northern Residents arrive to feast on the tasty fish.   Johnstone Strait is the body of water between the northeast of Vancouver Island and the Broughton Archipelago.Orca-Sea-Kayaking-Map

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to see some of the Southern Residents, the group of salmon eating orcas who frequent the waters around the San Juan Islands in Washington.orca range

The Northern Residents arrived in Johnstone Strait a few days before we got there. Some said that they were a bit late, but the timing varies according to the salmon run.

whale_labeledTelegraph Cove Kayak  004Our plan was to sign up with a kayak outfitter to look for the whales.   We wanted to go out with someone who knew the waters, as the tidal currents in the area can be quite complicated. Also, the kayak companies keep in communication with other boaters and get updates if whales are spotted. Continue reading

North to Telegraph Cove

Duncan Telegraph Cove  023vancouverislandWe got an early start for what we anticipated to be a long drive to the North of 290 mile long Vancouver Island. Allowing for a couple of stops along the way. Our route north to Telegraph Cove entered into a much more remote area of the island.

Duncan Telegraph Cove  002Duncan, about an hour north of Victoria and nicknamed the City of Totems, was our first stop. The town, located in the Cowichan Velley, borders the Cowichan Tribe’s Reservation, and the two communities work closely together on local issues.

Duncan Telegraph Cove  022 Continue reading

The Wild Olympic Coast

Olympic Coast  009Olympic Coast  011Our first glimpse of the wild Olympic coast was at Ruby Beach, a popular beach with sea stacks and pink sands.  As with most beaches around here, giant driftwood logs were everywhere.

It was foggy, which we were about to discover was a common occurrence around these parts.Olympic Coast  010


Continue reading

The San Juan Islands and the Beautiful Orcas

San Juan Islands  031San Juan Islands  038One of the things I most looked forward to in the San Juan Islands was kayaking with the whales. When I was in my twenties I saw a photo of a kayaker looking over at a whale breaching and have wanted to do it since.  So in search of the beautiful orcas we went.San Juan Islands  003

San Juan Islands  002Our plan was to visit a couple of the islands, and, especially, the area where the orcas are prevalent.

Our campground was located between the towns of La Conner and Anacortes, the boarding point for ferries going to the San Juan Islands, so it all seemed fairly easy. San Juan Islands  045San Juan Islands  046 Continue reading

The Woods and the Coast

north redwoods  001north redwoods  003north redwoods  013We headed directly up the coast of California with plans continue north; to stop in Oregon, in Washington and then to cross the border by ferry to Vancouver Island, British Columbia and cross by ferry again to mainland Canada.

But first, we stopped at another National Park. Redwood National and State Parks are actually four parks, one National and three State Parks, managed cooperatively. These parks “protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly forty miles of pristine coastline, including the majestic coast redwoods”.

north redwoods  043Coast redwoods are related to the giant sequoias that we visited earlier in the spring but they only grow in a narrow strip along the Pacific coast of California and southwestern Oregon. Although the giant sequoias’ trunks are wider, the coast redwoods can grow much taller, to nearly 380 feet. In fact, somewhere in these parks stands the world’s tallest tree, a coast redwood.

Our drive from Noyo Harbor was long, California is just so darn long! But not as challenging as our last drive, and part of the way was through coast redwood forests.

Continue reading

The Pacific Coast Highway

Big Sur  005Big Sur  030The Pacific Coast Highway south of Monterey climbs towards Big Sur,  yet another very cool place along the coast.  This section of the coastal drive is stunning.  And this is the same drive we took many, many years ago on one of our very first “big” trips as a married couple. Big Sur  010Big Sur  003Big Sur  007

That long ago trip began in San Francisco and ended in Los Angeles.  With a memorable stop in Big Sur.Big Sur  001 Continue reading

Whale Watching in San Diego

Whale Watching in San Diego 1Whales SD  059We were so excited to have yet another opportunity to see whales.  This time of year gray whales can be spotted off the coast of San Diego as they migrate north from Baja California.  The migration starts in November when the whales head south from Arctic waters and continues through the spring when they head back up north.  This up to 14,000 mile journey is one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal.  Eschrichtius robustus is robust indeed. So we researched options for whale watching in San Diego and found multiple two-hour to half-day tours as well as one eight-hour option on Pacific Nature Tours.

Whales SD  054Whales SD  057


It’s challenging to get an up close look at migrating whales since they are a moving target and at times far off shore.  So in order to have a better chance at an up close and personal look we selected the eight-hour tour.  And happily we found a Groupon discount which made it a great deal as well.

Whales SD  055 Continue reading

The Fjord of the White Whales

saguenay 25park marinI love fjords!  And I have been fortunate to see some in Alaska and Norway, and now have an opportunity to see the largest one in Quebec, the Saguenay Fjord.  It’s one of only 38 of the 2,130 fjords around the world that is at least 60 miles long.  Most of the fjord is protected as part of the National Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay.

Continue reading