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Johnstone Strait Kayaking

Kayaking in the Johnstone Strait

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Last July we adventured out to participate in a 3 night camping experience in the Johnstone Strait  with Spirit of the West Adventures. This is a definite for your bucket list should you enjoy camping, kayaking and being outdoors.You will be amazed at the experience even if you don’t see whales.

Spirit of the West Adventures

This was the best tour and they were amazing hosts and guides right from the start. Not once did we feel like we were not welcomed or accepted. From the first meeting at the Heriot Bay Inn on Quadra Island the night before the trip through the drop off after the tour back at Heriot Bay.

In case you are wondering. Quadra island is an incredibly gorgeous place as well. The sunsets linger long into the evening and the sounds of nature just appear to calm the body and soul.

The morning after the prep meeting you are picked up by the guides, take to a dock, load up 2 boats then taxied two hours north to the Johnstone Strait basecamp. This would now our home for the next 3 nights. Each group of 2 were assigned a tent (all of which had stunning views of the water), were prepped on how to be safe and the types of animals we could encounter. All of the tents faced the water  where you could see over to the Robson Bight.

It Was All About the Kayaking

From the first paddle the afternoon we got there until the last paddle each moment was a peaceful experience in nature. There were bald eagles flying around the camp, tales of wolves and cougars as well as the hope we would see the mammal we all came for… the orca. Afterall, this was their favorite place to shop for groceries. Salmon that is, Chinook, spawning in the local waters. This is also what brings the grizzly bears down to the pebbly waters edge.

Whether you are an expert or novice kayaker, this tour can accommodate you easily. The guides are there to show you how to handle the boat, what to do if you tip and most importantly to ensure you move at a pace that works for you. This is a terrific workout that will leave you sore and exhausted. Ready for bed long before the late sunset of the BC north.

The tour company provides all the food and even take into consideration any dietary preferences for the individuals in the group. The guides cook up fantastic meals and snacks for all. While out kayaking the half way point if marked by a picnic along the shores edge.

If this is an excursion you have wanted to try?

Queer Compass highly recommends Spirit of the West Johnstone Strait Ultimate for a chance to ocean kayak in the norther parts of Vancouver Island for a chance to see dolphins, humpbacks and orcas.

Are you interested in this type of tour? Let us know in the comments below.


Have you seen the Amsterdam Gallery?

Whale Shark Excursions – Mexico

Bucket List: Whale Shark Adventure

Location: Isla Mujeres, Cancun Mexico

Queer Rating: Friendly

Beach: Snorkel a small reef on Playa Norte Isla Mujeres and eat ceviche after

As a profound ocean enthusiast it has long been a dream of mine to swim with a shark in their natural habitat. Of course the whale shark is the most docile of all shark species, it is none the less exhilarating. Imagine you are in the water, mere feet from a fish that is at least the size of a school bus swimming along collecting the most microscopic of plankton and krill. Just WOW!

whale shark
Sam on the Aron

The day started out with the captain picking us up at the house on Isla Mujeres. We were heading to get on board the Aron to meet up with some other folks also joining us. Then it was 20km out into open ocean where the whale sharks were feeding on an abundance of plankton. This feeding happens yearly between May and September.

Please note: While this is a tourist activity much like heading to Akumal,  there are plenty of rules and regulations to foll

whale shark
Whale Shark Cruising

ow and only a certain number of boats are licensed to operate tours during this period. 

In the Water with a Whale Shark

Once you get out to the location of the whale sharks the captain and guide tell you to get ready. This means getting on your snorkel and fins ready to jump in the water. No time for fear or hesitation. If you are not ready forget about it, you missed that round. You literally jump in the water close to a whale shark. The guide takes you towards the big fish while the boat circles around to pick you up. In the boat the other tourists are rea

snorkel whalesharks
Sam Snorkels

dying to jump in immediately after you are onboard.

It sounds hectic because it is. In the water this day were about 25 fish. Sometimes there are 50+ and others still there are also the big manta rays. These beautiful creatures also feed on the plankton and krill in abundance here during this time. There are also 20-40 tour boats all positioning to get their tourists into the water to experience this once in a lifetime adventure.

Whale Shark
Bye Bye Whale Shark

The captain and the guide will let you get in the water 3-5 times depending on the crowds before heading back. In case you are wondering there are rules. Rules you must follow.

View Whale Shark Rules.

When you have completed swimming with these gentle giants you will boat back to Playa Norte for some ceviche and a swim in a small reef there. Playa Norte is rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. The reef boasts a few fish and is always packed with tourists feeding the fish. However, you have a boat, swim in the white sand bottomed water, drink cervesa and eat your ceviche before returning to dock.

At the end of the day I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed with how (expletive) cool the experience was. As the days after unwound I realized I was so effected by the

Whale Shark Tattoo
Whale Shark Tattoo

experience that I got myself a tattoo to commemorate it.

If you want a once in a life time experience that pits you in the open ocean with giant sharks then you need to be in Mexico in the summer of 2018.


Top 5 LGBT Sun Destinations for 2015

What’s better than soaking up the sun? Doing it with “family!” These 5 sun soaked hot spots are all the buzz this summer whether you’re looking for adventure, a quiet place with that special someone, or the ultimate party.

Here are the Top 5 LGBT Sun Soaked Destinations for 2015 …

  1. Fire Island, NY

It’s a well-known fact to the locals that Fire Island is the go to gay and lesbian wedding destination. It may be less well known that it’s also the go to hot spot for queer partying in the sun and surf. With its quaint boardwalk and adorable rental homes, Fire Island feels secluded without actually being so. A quick trip on the fairy, (I’m talking about a boat!) and you’re dropped off in a veritable gay and lesbian wonderland. And Fire_Island-NY-USAbetween you and me, they trying to crack down on it, but clothing is still very much optional.

Click Here for the Best New York Hotel Deals!

  1. Key West, FL

It may be hard to imagine but Key West, Florida is an emerging queer destination. If you’re looking for gay friendly destination that offers more than just clubbing and cruising the beach, Kay West may be for you. With its laid back, southern vibe, KeKey-west-mapy West offers great resorts and is a budding culinary stop for any foodie. The best part is their PRIDE festival is held in June. Go early to wind down, stay to turn up!

  1. Miami Beach, FL

Unfortunately, PRIDE 2015 has already taken place in Miami. What better place to kick it off? Fortunately, the fun doesn’t stop there. Miami has a long-standing tradition of being a popular queer party town andMiamiBeach nothing has changed. Miami lands itself at number three because it is the perfect mix of high-octane club life, sophisticated luxury, and colorful history. Miami’s cultural diversity will trulyinspire, while its celebrity studded parties will rock you all night long.

Top Destinations #10: Click Here for the Best Miami Beach Hotel Deals!

  1. Cancun, Mexico

You’ll be hard pressed to find more gay friendly hotels, resorts, and amenities than Cancun. There certainly is no shortage of eye candy either. The best part is traveling to Mexico is cheaper than other tropical destinations. You’ll have plenty of money left over to enjoy the water sports, tequila, ancancund hard bodies on the beach. Hop in a cab and head downtown for some fine dinning and an endless choice of party destinations. The people are friendly and they are mindful to cater to English speaking tourists, so you’ll feel right at home. Prefer a side of adventure with your vacay? Cancun’s rich history with it’s hidden caves and nearby historical landmarks will both inspire and entertain!

  1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Put all your preconceived notions about Brazil aside, because there is absolutely no better place to soak up the sun and be out and proud than Rio de Janeiro. This party city is famous for its open mindedness, outrageous festivals and scantily clad revelers. You won’t be limited to lazing on the beach or all night party sessions either. Rio is famous for its food, shopping and tourism. Stay at a luxury boutique hotel or rough it at one of their many hostels. Whatever you have to do, just get to Rio!

You Wanna Soak Up The Sun…? QueerCompass will poist more LGBT Sun Destinations throughout the year! Canada: Beach Destinations: Time For Sun, Surf and Sand—Book Your Beach Getaway!