Hanson Hide-Away Base Camp featuring the ‘Orca Lounge’

The kitchen and gathering area at our Hansen Hideaway base camp in Johnstone Strait, BC

We chose the location of our Hanson Hide-Away base camp to serve as one of the best camp locations for our sea kayaking tours. It is ideally located to explore the northern coastline of Johnstone strait, Blackfish Sound, allows easy access to areas of high tidal flows of Weynton Passage and Blackney Passage, and serves as a gateway to the Broughton Archipelago.

Location – Its everything!

The base camp is beautifully located between two small beaches on Hanson Island, on the north side of Johnstone Strait about a 10km paddle from Telegraph Cove. The camp area is hidden and protected from the wind behind a rock bluff which provides a naturally elevated ‘look out’ where we have created the ‘Orca Lounge’. This is the ideal spot to sit on the simple driftwood benches and take some afternoon sun while you gaze out over the water. The rocks provide a great platform and easy access to deep water should you wish to take a shot at fishing. Remember to get a fishing license, they are available in Telegraph Cove prior to departure. There are also some great rock-pools to poke around in.

Our route to, or from, camp is an ideal day paddle away from Telegraph Cove as we can explore either the Vancouver Island or Hanson Island coastline, looking for bears and intertidal life, spending time drifting while we watch the Dalls Porpoises feeding, Eagles fishing or the Orca hunting for salmon in the kelp forests. Paddling choices from camp are plentiful, from a short half day excursion to a trail head where we can go hiking to a long day circumnavigating Hanson Island and everything in between.

Amazing wildlife

Hanson Island sits as the heart of the Northern Resident Killer Whale summer range. This area is protected by the Federal Government of Canada under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) as ‘critical habitat’ for these spectacular mammals.

The camp provides easy access to the high tidal flow areas of Blackney and Weynton Passage that border Hanson Island. High tidal flows tend to create concentrations of food and this in turn causes high concentrations of hungry wildlife. The rock bluffs, on which sit the benches that form the ‘Orca Lounge’, drop vertically into deep water. It is not uncommon to see Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, dolphins, porpoises, eagles or sea-lions in the water right below these benches’.

Spectacular view

We look out over the Strait to the rugged coast of Vancouver Island in the distance. From our elevated position we can see over to Robson Bight or back up towards Telegraph Cove and everything in between. There is always something to look at when you are by the water, be it gulls floating by, resting on a log, or a cruise ship heading to Alaska. The spectacularly clear deep water just off shore means that we frequently look down on the Killer Whales or Humpback Whales from above. This provides an incredible, non-disruptive way to enjoy these animals.

It also has spectacular moonrise, sunrises and sunsets. There is no light pollution, except maybe our camp-fire so star gazing is a great evening pastime.

Great Facilities

Our camp is located on land we lease from the Yukusam Heritage Society which is jointly controlled by the Mamalilikulla Qwe Qwa Sot Em, ‘Namgis and Tlowitsis First Nations nations, whose ancestors have lived in this area for countless thousands of years. Our agreement with them includes that should we leave tomorrow, the forest could reclaim our site as if we had never been there. This does not mean that we cannot provide great facilities, just that we need to be very aware of our impact. You will find,

  • Spacious tents you can stand up in, already pitched on locally milled red cedar tent platforms.
  • Large covered area used for dining and lounging.
  • Established camp kitchen with stove, BBQ & picnic tables.
  • Beach fire pit for evening campfires.
  • Composting toilet.
  • Driftwood benches to sit and relax.
  • A library containing books on local plants, animals, insects and local history.
  • Various games and pass-times.

This video was taken at the Orca Lounge by a guest in the summer of 2014 - Thanks BionicBeaverGoesWild©

The kitchen and gathering area at our Hansen Hideaway base camp in Johnstone Strait, BC
Part of the kitchen at our Hansen Hideaway base camp in Johnstone Strait, BC
The view looking up Johnstone Strait from our Hansen Hideaway base camp
Looking down into camp at Hansen Hideaway
A tent space at our Hansen Hideaway sea kayaking base camp near Robson Bight
The stairway from camp to the Orca Lounge at our Hanson Hide-away base camp in Johnstone Strait
Hanson Hide-away west beach looking up Johnstone Strait towards Telegraph Cove, BC
The view over ROnson Bight from our Hanson Hide-Away kayak base camp in Johnstone Strait