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Whale Watching Telegraph Cove Area

At Discovery Expeditions, our kayaking expeditions set sail from Port McNeil, guiding adventurers through the captivating waters of Johnstone Strait near Telegraph Cove. While we're not a conventional whale-watching company, our exclusive multi-day offerings place you in a privileged position to encounter whales up close. By being closely connected to the ocean through kayaking and with the advantage of extended exploration time, you're granted a rare chance to witness these magnificent creatures in a way few others can. The alluring waters, the presence of awe-inspiring marine life, and the thrill of sharing their world make every expedition with Discovery Expeditions a one-of-a-kind experience. Join us and be part of an extraordinary adventure that only the ocean can offer.


About Discovery Expeditions & Our Whale Watching Opportunities

Discovery Expeditions offers a variety of tailor-made kayaking expeditions to suit every adventurer's desires, ranging from personalized day trips to extensive six-day journeys. Our

Orca Day Trip combines wildlife watching in the morning with kayaking in the afternoon, with the optional bear watch and museum visits. For those looking to explore further, the Southern Broughton Explorer offers a serene four-day paddle through the tranquil waters of the South Broughton Archipelago. The Beyond Broughtons six-day trek provides a rustic glimpse of the Great Bear Rainforest. At the same time, The Orca Galore's three-day adventure, The Orca Explorer's four-day blend of wildlife viewing, and our Float House Trip immerse you in the vibrant waters near West Cracroft Island. The Broughton Archipelago six-day nomadic kayak trip completes our offering, taking you through the entire Marine Park, absorbing the natural sounds of nature, and viewing majestic whales along the way. North Island Explorer 4-day nomadic trips are the furthest northern trip that we know of Vancouver Island. If you are considering this trip, you should have kayaking experience. The waters, the crossing and the remoteness make this a trip of a lifetime.

Telegraph Cove near the stunning Johnstone Strait is a hotspot for whale enthusiasts. In these rich marine waters, visitors can potentially spot various whale species, including awe-inspiring orcas, majestic humpback whales, and the more elusive minke whales. The region's diverse ecosystem supports an incredible variety of marine life, making Telegraph Cove a premier destination for those hoping to glimpse these magnificent sea giants. Whether on a day trip or a more extended expedition, seeing these creatures in their natural habitat is an experience like no other.

Marine Mammals We Frequently Watch Alert Bay, Telegraph Cove & The Johnstone Strait



The Salish Sea, encompassing parts of the U.S. and Canada, is a well-known habitat for orcas. Various pods of resident, transient, and offshore orcas frequent these waters, often visible from shore or tour boats. The area's diverse marine life provides an ample food source, contributing to regular sightings of these magnificent creatures, making the Salish Sea a beloved destination for whale watchers and marine enthusiasts.

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Dall's Porpoise

Dall's porpoises are distinctive in the Salish Sea, with their black-and-white colouring and impressive speed. Often seen riding bow waves and darting through the water, they add a dynamic presence to the marine environment. Although they can be elusive, avoiding close human contact, sightings of these fast-swimming mammals are not uncommon. Their presence in the Salish Sea adds to the area's rich biodiversity and offers an exciting experience for those lucky to observe them.

Pod of Whales

Hump Back Whales

Humpback whales in the Salish Sea are a symbol of nature's grandeur and resilience. Once scarce in the region, these magnificent creatures have made a remarkable comeback, thrilling observers with their breathtaking breaches and tail slaps. During the summer months, they can be seen feeding on abundant krill and small fish, offering a spectacle for whale watchers and marine enthusiasts. The resurgence of humpback whales in the Salish Sea is a heartening sign of the ecosystem's recovery and overall health.

Resident Orca of Johnstone Strait & Blackfish Sound

Orcas are categorized into different ecotypes, which include the resident, transient, and offshore populations. Each group has unique behaviours, diets, and social structures.

This area's northern resident orcas are divided into several clans and pods, each with its own distinct vocal dialect. They are often spotted in the waters near Port McNeil and Telegraph Cove, including the Johnstone Strait.

These whales primarily feed on Chinook salmon and other fish species. The northern resident pods are generally more predictable in their movements as they follow salmon migrations. 


A-Clan: This clan comprises several pods, including A1, A4, and A5. Each pod may have multiple matrilines, often travelling and feeding together.

G-Clan and R-Clan: These clans also consist of several pods and are often seen in the area.

Northern resident pods are known for their social behaviours and strong family ties. They often engage in activities like breaching, tail-slapping, and spy-hopping.


The A-Clan of northern resident killer whales consists of multiple pods, and within those pods, there may be several matrilines, each tracing back to a common female ancestor. This clan is most commonly sighted in the Johnstone Strait region.

  1. A1 Pod: This pod has been observed frequently and is one of the best-known pods in the region. The A1 pod exhibits a strong family bond and engages in coordinated hunting strategies.

  2. A4 and A5 Pods: These pods also belong to the A-Clan and are regularly spotted in the area. Like other members of the A-Clan, these pods primarily feed on salmon.

The A-Clan is renowned for its intricate vocalizations, with each pod having unique calls passed down through generations. These vocalizations are essential for communication, navigation, and hunting.


The R-Clan is another northern resident clan found in the Johnstone Strait region.

  1. R Pod: The R Pod is known to travel throughout the region, often in the company of other northern resident pods. This pod displays close family connections and cohesive social behaviours.


The R-Clan also follows the salmon migrations and has unique vocalizations distinct from other clans. Their intricate social structure and tight-knit family bonds are a subject of interest for both researchers and whale enthusiasts.


The G-Clan includes the G Pod, which is known to frequent the waters around the northern part of Vancouver Island. Similar to the A-Clan, the G-Clan follows the migratory patterns of salmon, their primary food source.

  1. G Pod: This pod consists of several matrilines and is known for its distinct vocalizations. It is frequently seen in the summer months when salmon are more abundant.


The G-Clan's social dynamics and interactions are a research focus, providing valuable insights into orca behaviour and ecology. They have been observed engaging in social activities such as breaching and playing with kelp.


Resident Killer Whale Conservation Efforts

The conservation of marine life in the Salish Sea involves a multifaceted approach that brings together governments, non-profit organizations, researchers, and local communities. Measures include the establishment of marine protected areas to shelter vital habitats, regulations to reduce pollution, and management of fishing to prevent overfishing.


There are also efforts to minimize vessel traffic and noise, which can disrupt marine mammals like killer whales, Dall's porpoises, and humpback whales. Collaboration across the U.S.-Canada border has been key to creating comprehensive strategies that recognize the interconnectedness of the ecosystems.


Education and public outreach play a significant role, fostering a sense of stewardship and encouraging responsible wildlife viewing practices. The success of these combined efforts can be seen in the increased sightings of species like the humpback whale, signaling a positive direction for the health and sustainability of the Salish Sea's unique marine environment.


Book Your Whale-Watching & Kayaking Adventure

Discovery Expeditions invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey through the picturesque waters of Johnstone Strait, near the famed Telegraph Cove. Whether you're seeking the thrill of spotting resident killer whales, humpback whales, minke whales, or simply longing for the serenity of kayaking amidst breathtaking scenery, we have a package tailored for you. From personalized day trips to immersive multi-day adventures, we offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature's awe-inspiring marine life. To enjoy this incredible whale-watching and kayaking adventure, contact us today and let Discovery Expeditions guide you through an experience that will resonate in your memories forever.

Start Your Journey

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