This week’s interview:  Kelp Reef Adventures in Victoria, BC, Canada


Brad Armstrong and Katharine Palmer of Kelp Reef Adventures

Brad Armstrong and Katharine Palmer,

We would like to introduce you to Kelp Reef Adventures operating in Victoria, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island. They are our eh Canada Travel & Adventure “Friends of Tourism”.

We had an opportunity to ask the owners, Brad Armstrong and Katharine Palmer, some questions about their business and about kayaking, traveling and visiting in the City of Victoria. 

The “Friends of Tourism” interview introduces you to selected quality artists, photographers, product sponsors, travel bloggers and travel businesses who are making a positive impact in their community and throughout the Canadian Tourism Industry.

This week we talked with Brad Armstrong and Katharine Palmer who operate Kelp Reef Adventures in the City of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

1. Who are you and where are you from??

We are Brad Armstrong and Katharine Palmer, the co owners of Kelp Reef Adventures.  Brad and I were both born in BC and moved to Vancouver Island as teenagers, we met shortly following graduating from high school and have been together for 17 years.  Brad spent most of his younger days scuba diving in and around the Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands while I grew up on Pender Island, learning to kayak from a young age.


Wildlife watching in Victoria, BC with Kelp Reef Adventures

Wildlife watching in Victoria, BC

2. Favorite thing about Victoria?

Our favourite thing about Victoria is the wide variety of wildlife you can see within the city.  We see harbour seals, sea lions, otters, mink, eagles, orca and even a rare sighting of a black bear in the Gorge waterway.  We also have some of the best areas for kayaking, hiking and biking so that you can get out there to enjoy vistas of mountains and our wild west coast shoreline.

3. Tell us something unique about Kelp Reef Adventures?

What sets us apart from other kayak shops is that we specialize in guided kayak tours where safety and education are our main focus.  We see ourselves as stewards of our marine environment and we want to share with our guests an understanding of our local eco system.  Everyone of our tours includes a lesson in kayak basics; how to maneuver your boat, the best paddling techniques and how to recover from a capsize.

4. What should travelers visit when exploring Victoria?

Travelers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to kayak while visiting Victoria, it is the best way to see the city!  But what makes Victoria so special is its diversity.  Neighbourhoods like Oak Bay have million dollar views from their hilltop estates while Fisherman’s Wharf in James Bay boast their own unique lifestyle from their floating homes.  Driving from Fernwood to Sooke you have everything from live street side music, to markets that close city blocks and countless roadside farm stands. 

5. #1 Reason you work in the travel industry?

The number 1 reason we work in the tourism industry is we always have!  For Brad he taught scuba diving in Australia, the South Pacific and Caribbean and brought his experience as a boat captain to working in Victoria in the whale watching industry.  I have 20 plus years experience in the food and beverage industry working for hotels like the Hyatt Regency and am currently working as a server at one of Victoria’s finest seafood restaurants, The Blue Crab Seafood House.  The travel and tourism industry is what we know and what we love to do.

6. What is your funniest tourism moment operating as Kelp Reef Adventures? 

Some of my funniest tourism moments originate from the unique area that our kayak shop is located.  Fisherman’s Wharf is a floating dock facility where people live in float homes over the water.  This close knit and colourful community shares the dock with several adventure tour businesses and restaurants as well as a marina for live aboard yachts and visitors arriving by private vessels.  We get a lot of curious visitors and the most commonly asked question is do people really live in these homes year round?  The answer is yes but the funny part is we get this question several times a day from Easter to Halloween!

7. What is your favorite activity and why?

Of course our favourite activity is kayaking.  We kayak everyday and when we go on holiday we will most often do a multi day kayak camping trip somewhere locally such as the Gulf Islands, Nootka Sound, or the Broken Group Islands near Ucluelet.  We have some the greatest unspoiled west coast shorelines on Vancouver Island to explore with an abundance of affordable pristine Provincial Campgrounds.

8. What did you do before Kelp Reef Adventures?

Before starting Kelp Reef Adventure in the spring of 2009 Brad worked for nine years as a whale watching boat captain and marine mammal naturalist.  I have worked at the Coast Harbourside Hotel at the Blue Crab for 13 years now.

9. Where do you plan to go next to vacation and why?

Since starting our business this year’s vacation will be our first holiday outside of BC.  We will be loading our kayaks and small camping trailer November 1st to spend the winter camping and kayaking through the southern United States.  We begin in Utah and the Goblin Valley for camping and hiking before heading to Lake Powell, a 450 mile manmade lake great for kayaking.  Later we will visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon for some long hikes with our 2 small dogs before we make our way to Southern Arizona for Christmas dry camping in the desert and quadding with the family.  In January we plan to go to San Diego to try some surf kayaking and then Monterey Bay for kayaking in California kelp forests with sea otters.  We will make our way slowly home through California’s Redwood Forest and the Oregon sand dunes along Hwy 101 to Port Angeles and then take a short ferry ride to home.  We are very excited and busy prepping for our trip!

10. What is the biggest mistake you see travelers do?

I think the biggest mistake I see travelers make is not allowing for enough time to visit Victoria and Vancouver Island.  A weekend cannot do it justice!  Also I hear that many make it as far as Vancouver but do not bother to board the BC Ferries to take a scenic ride through the gulf islands to Vancouver Island and Victoria.

Thank you Kelp Reef Adventures in Victoria, Canada for your time!

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********** (eh Canada Travel & Adventure) is the largest booking, planning and researching tourism and travel website for Western and Northern Canada currently expanding into Eastern and Atlantic Canada. The EH Team Brothers ( Co Founders) also author the eh Canada Travel Blog which was recently awarded “A Top Canadian Blogger” by

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