Nestled in a bay along the northern coastline of Vancouver Island, on the traditional land of the Namgis First Nation, lies a small village known as Telegraph Cove. The name was coined by Alfred Maemaduke in 1912 and referred to the telegraph lineman’s station that pioneers, loggers and others of industry would use. Today, Telegraph Cove is home to a bustling ecotourism industry and resort featuring historical buildings along the charming boardwalk. With a waterfront view of Johnstone Strait and the Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park, you can’t help but hear the call of nature!
Last week, a few of us were fortunate enough to explore the area and enjoy several of the unique experiences the North Island has to offer. Over our 4 day stay, here are a handful of activities we experienced:
Sunset Whale Watching with Prince of Whales
It is our second season in the Cove and we are delighted to be a part of the local culture and a fixture on the North Island. Telegraph Cove is home to Ocean Magic II (our 74 passenger ocean cruiser) and two 12 passenger zodiacs. These 3-4 hour whale and wildlife watching tours explore the Broughton Archipelago in search of the plethora of wildlife that inhabits the waters! On our tour we were fortunate enough to see a slew of humpback whales, marine birds, and grunting sea lions. Come find us for your next adventure! Our office and gift shop is located near the end of the boardwalk.
The Whale Interpretive Centre
Located beside the Prince of Whales office is The Whale Interpretive Centre. Also known as the Killer Whale Centre, this charming museum was established in 2002 and is run by the non-profit Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretive Centre Society (JSKWICS). Home to one of the province’s best marine mammal skeleton collections, the centre offers public awareness about the biology, ecology and threats that local marine mammals face today. Bonus – there are educated interpreters there to answer any questions you may have. As a self professed whale nerd I was blown away by how much there is to learn and see!!
North Island Kayak
We participated in an all inclusive 2 day tour! Not only was all the gear and food provided, but you can be completely new to kayaking and still have an awesome (and safe) adventure. As soon as we rounded the corner from the harbour we got to see a mom and calf Dall’s porpoise! Then our incredibly wonderful guide, Bree, led us along the coastline and through small channels where we saw an array of creatures, including; seals, crabs, sea urchins, sea stars, anemones, and lots of Bull kelp! After crossing Johnstone Strait to Hanson Island we stopped for lunch and then finished our journey to camp! We stayed at the Hanson Hide-Away Base Camp, and were elated to see killer whales from the shore. This location features the “orca lounge” where we watched as the Northern Resident Killer Whales ‘shuffled’ back and forth, fishing through Blackney Passage and through the channel. Orca’s weren’t the only thing we saw, a Steller sea lion, and pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins swam by!
Although paddling is physically demanding, the most challenging part of this whole tour was packing. Make sure that you consult the website, where a thorough list details everything you will need to make sure that you are prepared and comfortable (most important items to remember to pack are sunscreen, a hat, binoculars, and remember – NO COTTON). And did I mention that you definitely will not go hungry?! Guides whip up epic gourmet meals like breakfast frittatas and salmon dinner feasts (pro tip – the only thing NOT provided is alcohol, so if you want a glass of wine by the water don’t forget to pack it). Tours range from a couple of hours to multi day adventures, that provide options to travelers of all activity levels!
If you have never been to the North Island and you love the great outdoors, we highly recommend adding this magical place to your bucket list.
Northern Vancouver Island ~ The Undiscovered Coast
The Whale Interpretive Centre
Prince of Whales ~ Telegraph Cove
BC Parks ~ Broughton Archipelago
Vancouver Island North