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“Awesome nature, not so awesome hosts”

Discovery Expeditions Day Tours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Day Trips for 2018 are available in two options: (pre-booking is required) Option One is to take our transport out to Blackfish Sound and experience the wildlife around Telegraph Cove for $299 pp. Pre-booking is required. Options Two is to take our transport out to the core area where whales and a great deal of wildlife is located for $399 pp. Stay at night at island basecamp. Pre-booking is required. Multi-Day Trips are available from 2-6 days. We maintain set base camps to provide safe accommodations and great wildlife viewing. Trip cost start at $850 pp. Group/Family rates are available. Departures are available from Telegraph Cove, BC.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Last summer we went on a 3 day canoe trip with Discovery Expeditions, hosted by Larry & Co. Although the environment was incredible we didn't have the "amazing" experience as others describe on TA. We'd definitely take another kayak trip in this area but would go with another company.

The Positives:
The wildlife, the scenery and kayaking were incredible. We met some great new friends and enjoyed spending time with them on Little Sophia Island. Our campsite & our little private beach were beautiful. Nice hearty porridge for breakfast.

The Negatives:
Basic Services: No campfires despite being on a pebble beach (except to burn garbage in the morning?). No water to wash up despite an outdoor bathroom set up including sinks etc on the island. No water or containers to fetch our own water. Guess staff couldn't be bothered to hang a few water bags to accommodate? No hand sanitizer despite multiple requests from families with small children.

Kayak: Despite their promise of 6-9 hours of kayaking a day the reality is that we spent a max of 3 hours a day. Kayak instruction was very limited & basically your own your own. There was a small child on a 4 day stay & Larry didn't supply a child's lifejacket despite plenty of advanced warning.

Food: The food was no strictly a no frills deal, frozen salmon for each meal (except breakfast) for the duration of our stay: BBQ salmon, salmon tacos, more BBQ salmon, salmon sandwiches... no alternatives offered. Larry trapped 2 crabs one night but 2 crabs for 12 people doesn't go far. No campfires. No marshmallow roasting. Smores done in tin foil on a cook stove on our last night- but charred & inedible. Coffee restricted to one cup per day...

The trip cost about $350. per person per day so they should have made a much bigger effort and delivered a much better product. There are lots of other companies in the area that are willing to go the extra mile...

4  Thank katblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Donna D, Front Office Manager at Discovery Expeditions Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2014

As a company that has been operating these tours for the last twenty plus years, we value your comments and concerns. Unfortunately, almost all of your issues could have been deal with immediately with clear communication to our guides. Our guides were approachable and willing to accommodate our guest concerns. As your comments have come to our attention several months after your trip, you have left us no opportunity to address your concerns. It also took time for me to consult with my guides involved, as they have been travelling out of the country. I have left no stone unturned. I take full responsibility for the fact that we failed to meet your expectations. We did attempt to accommodate your specific dates and customize your trip to fit with an existing already booked family tour. We hope you look past these issue and bring to mind some of the positives of your trip with us.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 - 43 of 53 reviews

Reviewed January 26, 2014

This is a long overdue review of a six-day kayaking trip I took with Discovery Expeditions back in September 2013.

The Man:
Larry is well-known in the community for a reason. He has so many amazing stories of his experiences back in the research days before the area was actually designated an ecological reserve. You'll be hard pressed to find someone that's as knowledgeable and intensely passionate as this ageless wonder.

If taking pictures of whales are the only thing you really care about, you'd be better off taking a whale-watching tour. However, if you enjoy kayaking or want a much more intimate experience, do a multi-day trip with Larry and his crew. I don't want to mislead you, you would be incredibly lucky to have whales surface a few feet beside your kayak (this has happened before several times, but almost never intentionally), but there is a closeness felt by just being on the water in a kayak that is unmatched. On our trip, we didn't actually see orcas from kayaks until the very last day, when we came across a superpod of 30+ whales. The weather was a bit unkind, so Larry opted instead to give us an impromptu whale-watching tour a few times, which was much more informative than any of the other commercial trips you could've taken, just because of the wealth of knowledge he has from his decades of unique experiences here.

The Kayaking:
I'm somewhat of a novice paddler, but we had some beginner paddlers in the group. You will likely start off in bomb-proof tandems, until Larry&Co see you're comfortable enough to use a single. Do not pack your ego with you on this trip because the ocean doesn't care how long you've been paddling freshwater lakes for. After all, there's a reason why you're on a guided trip instead of leading one yourself. Anyways, tandems served the purpose of made sure no one was left behind skill-wise and gave me the opportunity to get to know the rest of the group.

The Island:
Larry is the only person with a base camp that is part of the government reserve. What this means is that, one, the island base camp is located right beside a channel that the orcas frequent on their way to Telegraph Cove. We were lucky enough to catch an orca resting line as it made it's way through, from our bonfire on the beach. Second, this means that Larry was here before the area was designated an ecological reserve and speaks to his contributions and experience. There are several little outhouses too, so don't worry about that. Oh and if Larry offers to take you out after dark... don't ask questions and just go. You won't regret it! This is a magical place, I don't know how else to explain it.

The Conclusion:
If you want to experience something unique, this is where you should go. This is not your typical vacation, but is it ever worth every penny. If you can, go for at least 4 days to give yourself time to soak it all in (even 6 days felt too short). I was born and raised in Toronto, and to me, this is the quintessential Canadian experience. Nature, wildlife, and fantastic people.

The Disclaimer:
1) Nature tends not to care how much you've spent or how far you've travelled to get somewhere. Weather and animal patterns are unpredictable, so I don't suggest this type of trip if you aren't comfortable with plans changing every now and then.
2) You may have some difficult individuals on your trip. But more likely than not, you will end up with people as awesome as you are. I know I did!

3  Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We took a day trip back in the summer with Larry and Chantelle at the very last part our trip to BC and it was the perfect ending. The guys, with their knowledge and experience made sure we viewed the best wildlife (including in Chantelles words "the closest I've ever been to a Humpback Whale") in the safest manner. We cant wait to get back to Telegraph Cove and jump back on those kayaks!!

Thank david p p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2014

What an amazing week in the summer it was, camping on beautiful little Sophia island in the most stunning setting in the Johnstone Strait. We were blessed to see so many orca, both whilst out on the kayaks each day, and also from the island, even at night! This was fully down to Larry's knowledge and relationship with everyone in the area - what an incredible host (and cook!) he is. Larry's assistant Chantalle is also fantastic with all her enthusiasm and made the week so enjoyable. Pure serenity. Highly recommend. I will most certainly be returning.

Thank Daniel U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We spent 4 nights on the island with Larry and his crew and took wonderful day trips complete with orcas, humpbacks, elephant seals and even a bear during a lunch excursion! Here's what one member of our group wrote after the trip. I just want to tell you on behalf of our group that the trip was so much more than just a relaxing vacation or a whale watching experience. Beyond the beautiful creatures, the beauty and the time in the wild, it offered a really important time to reflect on our lives and our choices, slow down and connect with our kids, and experience another way to be. You, your staff and guests are all great people. The food was so fresh and healthy. The education about the place and the safety reminders were spot on. You’ve built something beautiful and meaningful. I hope it fulfills you. We’re grateful.

1  Thank Jennifer Ann C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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