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Traveling to Your Broughton Archipelago / Johnstone Strait Kayaking Tour

Note: You can also download a PDF version of this page, more suitable for printing. Broughton Archipelago map

Important points:

Our Broughton Archipelago / Johnstone Strait Kayaking Adventure begins in the town of Port McNeill, about 200 miles north of Victoria on the east side of Vancouver Island. Here the Columbia III will await your arrival at the CAB Fuel Dock (250) 956-4044 / 956-3336.

Getting To Port McNeill

There are a number of ways of getting to Port McNeill. The simplest are to fly directly from Vancouver to Port Hardy Regional Airport (a 25 minute taxi drive from Port McNeill), or by seaplane from Seattle to Port McNeill Harbour. Flying time from Vancouver to Port Hardy is about 1.25 hours. Other ways include the combination of car and ferry to Vancouver Island, or bus and ferry to Vancouver Island. Ferry crossing time from Vancouver to Vancouver Island is Approx. 2 hours. Driving time from Nanaimo to Port McNeill is 4.5 hours, or from Victoria to Port McNeill is 6 hours. Another option is to fly to Campbell River Regional Airport (half way between Victoria and Port McNeill) then bus or drive the rest of the way (2.5 hour drive).


From Vancouver

-Pacific Coastal Airlines runs numerous daily flights to Port Hardy (a town 25 minutes north of Port McNeill). See Port McNeill Shuttle Bus service below.

From Seattle
-Kenmore Air Seaplanes runs direct flights to Port McNeil 1-800-543-9595 or 425-486-1257 (in Seattle)

From Calgary, Alberta
-West Jet runs daily flights to Comox (a town 3.5 hours south of Port McNeill by road) 1-888-937-8538

Ferry services to Vancouver Island

From Vancouver

-B.C. Ferries has year round vehicle and passenger service - Routes include: North Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay), South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to South Nanaimo (Duke Point) and South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Swartz Bay (near Victoria) 1-888 223-3779 or outside B.C. 250-386-3431.

From Washington State

-M.V. Coho has vehicle and passenger service from Port Angeles WA to downtown Victoria B.C.
-Washington State Ferries runs vehicle and passenger service from Anacortes WA to Sidney B.C. (near Victoria) 1-888-808-7977 or 206-464-4600 (Seattle).
-Victoria Clipper has passenger-only ferry service from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria B.C. 1-800-888-2535.

Bus Services

In Vancouver Area

-Greyhound Canada has service from Vancouver's downtown bus station to Port McNeill. Ferry crossing included 1-800-661 8747 or 604-681-3526 (in Vancouver).

On Vancouver Island

-Island Coach Lines (a division of Greyhound Canada) has frequent service between Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River, and Port McNeill 1-800-318-0818 or 250-956-3556 (in Port McNeil)

In Port McNeill

-Port McNeill Airport Shuttle servicing Port Hardy Airport 250-956-8294

Taxis In Port McNeill and Port Hardy
-Waivin Flag Taxi 250-230-7655
-North Island Taxi 250-949-8801
Car Rental Providers
-Budget Car Rentals 1-800-299-3199 or 250-923-4283
-National Car Rentals 1-800-227-7368 or 250-923-1234
Guest Information

Visiting Vancouver Island

Many of our guests like to explore Vancouver Island before or after their adventure on the Columbia III. Please contact Tourism Vancouver Island (250)754- 3500 or for ideas and information. Accommodation through out B.C. can be arranged through 1-800-435-5622 or

Port McNeill

For those guests who wish to arrive prior to our departure, or stay later after our trip, the following accommodations are available in Port McNeill. Further information is also available from: Port McNeill & District Tourist Bureau (250) 956-3131 or the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce.

Accommodation in Port McNeill


There is a variety of parking available. Please ask for directions at the boat when you arrive.

Contacting Columbia III

The Columbia III can be contacted at 250-202-4745. The Mothership office can be reached at 1-888-833-8887 or 250-202-3229. In the case of an extreme emergency, the boat can be contacted directly by calling the Canadian Coast Guard in Victoria 1-250-363-6333. Ask them to send a message to MV Columbia III (quote this number: MMSI# 316-003-614) sailing in the Broughton Archipelago area. We are often off the boat so expect a response to take 12 hours. The ship's phone is not for guest use. For more contact information see our website.


We are happy to accommodate any personal dietary needs including vegetarian and vegan. Wine will be served with the evening meal. If you would like an alternative to alcohol please let us know. Please notify us of any food allergies or needs on the medical form well in advance of your departure date.

Medical, Allergies, and Other Concerns

Mail us your completed Medical Form ASAP. Your tetanus vaccination must be up to date (less than 10 years old) before you leave. Be sure to bring enough of your required medications as you will be far from any drug stores. We may encounter minor ocean swells so if seasickness is a concern, please bring anti nausea medication. But rest assured, we travel in very sheltered areas and overnight in calm, protected bays. We do our best to avoid swells and waves!

Weather , Clothing, and Packing

Our skipper and certified guides will not take you in any weather conditions that are dangerous to you or the group. We will likely encounter some wind and waves (the ocean is not always flat!), but nothing that would compromise the safety of a beginner kayaker. For maximum comfort, a layering system of lighter "quick-dry" and warmer fleece clothing works best. Merino wool is excellent as well. Avoid cotton which stays wet for a very long time. Waterproof raingear is essential.

When getting in and out of your kayak on shore your feet WILL get wet. We suggest a pair of sturdy water sandals/ shoes. Sports gloves for paddling may add to your comfort and help prevent blisters. Proper protection from the sun is essential so bring sun glasses, a sun hat, sun block and lip screen. Bring a water bottle as we don't provide disposable plastic water bottles. Staying hydrated in the outdoors is very important. When aboard the mothership, comfortable casual clothing is nice to change into after paddling.

Consider bringing the items listed on the packing list we provide.

We have waterproof bags (dry bags) onboard that you can use for your cameras or other small items in your kayak if you like. Large Ziploc bags work as well. Hard suitcases are difficult to fit into the small storage compartments on the Columbia III, so if possible, bring your things in soft duffel type bags.

NOTE: Although not required, if you'd like to express your appreciation to the guides through a gratuity, such recognition would be enthusiastically received. The industry standard for tipping is approximately 10 percent of the trip cost. All tips will be equally distributed among your crew.

Packing List