An amazing experience happened for our guests and guides last season. During our late August Discovery Islands Expedition, guests had been enjoying the usual features of this trip, amazing scenery, fantastic camping, great meals in the wilderness and just getting away from it all. But this was turning out to be no ordinary trip and little did everyone know that the highlight would be the sight of humpback whales breaching just meters from their kayaks.
Kayaking Trip Exceeds All Expectations
The kayaking expedition was turning out to be a memorable one as on the second day the group had a thrill that they expected to be the highlight of the trip. A pod of 30 dolphins appeared and proceeded to feed, leap beside the kayaks, and swim beneath them.
Dolphins are common in the area, as are seals, sea lions, and even otters who in the last few years have begun to make a comeback as well.
As the group encountered more people than usual at some of the campsites they pushed on further north towards the Penn Islands. There are so many spectacular islands in the Discovery Islands chain, each one holds something worth exploring.
An Indication of Humpback Whales
On the third day the group were paddling to their next campsite when they encountered a group of boaters viewing a humpback nursing her offspring. Watching from a safe distance (all trips abide by the safe whale watching guidelines), everyone watched as the whales floated near the surface and then dove down. With the sight of their magnificent tail flukes disappearing into the water, everyone expected they were unlikely to see them again.
What Happened Next Was An Amazing Experience
The group prepared to move on and what happened next was something everyone will never forget. The whales reappeared and surprised everyone by breaching.
Heather Lawrence, one of the guests on the trip, had her video camera and using a telephoto lens began filming the experience. It was quite a sight to see the humpback whales breaching several times in the distance and then disappearing once again.
Just when everyone thought the wildlife experience couldn’t get any better, the humpback whales appeared in front of the kayaks only about 10 metres away for a final breach.
Heather still had her camera rolling and said afterwards during her interview with CBC News, “It was really exhilarating. She’s huge and that’s all that you’re seeing. She takes up the whole view …There’s not a lot going on in your mind. You’re just thinking, ‘Holy cow, I can’t believe I’m seeing this’”
Some of the nearby boaters also caught it all on camera. After ensuring the whales had finally moved on, our guides paddled over to the boaters and asked if they would share the footage. They graciously said yes, and when back at the shop, the footage was compiled to share with the group.
Humpback Whales Breaching Video Goes Viral
Expecting the video to be just a great memory of an amazing trip one of the guides (Damon, who is also one of the owners of Wildcoast) posted the Humpback Whales Breaching video on Youtube and then couldn’t believe the incredible amount of interest. The phone started ringing off the hook with news outlets wanting to use the footage in the nightly news and hear more about the incredible wildlife experience.
Reaching out to everyone involved in making the video, the experience was retold to several news outlets by Heather and others. On last count, the video was viewed over 800,000 times.
For Wildcoast Adventures, our greatest thrill is that this incredible experience was enjoyed not only by our guests but by so many others worldwide. Here are just a few of the outlets that covered the story.
Travel & Leisure
The Weather Network
Campbell River Mirror
While this encounter with Humpback Whales was a rare one, there is an incredible resurgence of these mammals in the area we operate in. Read more about humpback whales in our blog post, The Tale of the Humpback Whale.
More Info About The Discovery Islands Kayaking Trip
If this sounds like an amazing adventure you’d like to explore, check out all the details: Discovery Islands Kayaking Tour and Expedition. This trip starts on Quadra Island (our home base) and explores islands throughout the Discovery Islands chain.