Category Archives: Features

Queer Features in LGBTQ Adventure Travel

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.


Akumal Dive Shop

Location: Akumal Beach, gorgeous white sands and friendly folks. And the reef, makes it worthwhile

Queer Rating: Friendly

Beach: White sand beach leads to a coral reef with lots of colorful coral, fish, turtles and rays


There is a place at Akumal Beach that provides a great home base when you are driven to snorkel at reef at Akumal Beach, the Akumal Dive Shop. A friendly, quaint little shop that introduces professionals and newbies alike to the magnificence of the reef just meters offshore.

The dive shop here provides everything you could possibly need. Be sure to call and schedule your outing ahead; Stay in a nearby hotel and arrive 15 minutes ahead of time and you will get the full service. The guides, equipment, cameras, life vests (which must be worn to venture with the guide beyond the sea grass) as well as lockers to store your dry gear. You are teamed with a group of six and out you go.

During the outing the guides point out the life underwater. You can see an assortment of wild life swimming around the reef. That first trip we encountered 2 different schools of fish, barracuda, lobster, spotted eagle rays and some stingrays. Of course the main attraction was also hanging around enjoying the sea grass, the turtles.

Finding a great dive shop is important when you are going out. You want to feel confident and secure. The water is dangerous and being prepared is your best safety preparation.