West Coast Expeditions’ 5-Day Sea Otter Kayak Tour has been selected to join the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Canadian Signature Experiences collection — a stamp of quality and recognition in the competitive international tourism marketplace.
The tour explores waters northwest of Tofino in the traditional territory of the Kyuquot-Checleset First Nations. Located on Spring Island in Kyuquot Sound, base camp serves as the hub for world-class paddling suited to novice and experienced kayakers. This distinctly Canadian experience connects visitor with the human and ecological story of this remote coastal location. Guests savour unexpected comforts of an enchanting wilderness retreat complete with beds, a hot shower and gourmet meals, including a traditional salmon feast hosted by a local Aboriginal family. Daily outings feature curious sea otters, colourful intertidal critters, serene estuaries, moss-laden old-growth forests, idyllic sand and shell beaches, as well as rugged sea arches and caves along wave-sculpted shorelines.
“I’ve been a world traveller all my life, and have worked in the adventure tourism industry for over 20 years. Now as a tourism business owner I feel extremely proud and excited to have one of our trips selected as an extraordinary Canadian tourism experience that will be showcased to the world,” says WCE co-owner and guide Caroline Fisher.
“We love sharing the wonders of the rich coastal ecosystem here, especially through intimate small-group experiences and unscripted cultural interactions,” adds managing owner and guide David Pinel. “Many guests local to Vancouver Island and Vancouver have been regulars with us over the years and cherish this experience as a gem close to home. Being featured now as a new member of the Canadian Signature Experiences collection is huge for us as a small operator on the western edge of Canada — what an honour.”
They own WCE together with Kyuquot-Checleset First Nation local, Bev Hansen-Michel, who is in her element hosting visitors to Spring Island and her home territory.
“This national recognition from the CTC further boosts our confidence and reach for welcoming international guests,” Hansen-Michel said.
The tour includes transportation from Courtenay, Comox or Campbell River.
“The Canadian Signature Experiences collection is just one of the ways we carve out Canada’s piece of the global tourism pie,” CTC’s Greg Klassen said.
WCE is the passionate pursuit and cumulative effort of marine educators who’ve fallen in love with the remote Kyuquot area and people on northwestern Vancouver Island. Tours start and finish in the Comox Valley, the year-round office location. Tour packages are between four and nine days, offered from June to September.