Frequently Asked Questions:
When is the best time to see whales?
The best time to see whales is from March throughout October. Our most common sightings are the summer resident gray whales which are travelling up our coast on their long migration route from northern Mexico all the way up to Alaska. During the summer month some of the grey whales stay here and find their feeding grounds close to our shores while others continue their migration to Alaska to feed there.
Humpback whale sightings are more rare as they usually like to be further out in the ocean where they feed on schools of fish and more seldomly come close enough to our shore for us to see them.
Also the Orca Whales visit us only a few times a month as they are transients who travel around in a huge area looking for mammals to feed on. They show up unexpectedly throuhout the year but sightings are most common in the summer.
There is no ''best time of the day'' for whale watching as the chances are the same throughout the day.
When is the best time to see bears?
The bear watching season is from April throuthout October. During those month the black bears come down to the rocky shores in Tofino's Inlet at low tide to search for crabs and other shellfish underneath the exposed rocks. These tours are scheduled according to low tide.
The best time of the day is therefore at low tide, wether it is a morning or afternoon low tide.
What are the chances to see whales along the way to the hot springs?
The chances to see whales along the way to the hot springs are very high. If the weather and sea conditions permit us to go the outside route on the open ocean, this is where the whales are and chances are good that we will see them on our way. If the sea is too rough and/or the winds are too strong we will go the inside route where the chances to see whales are low. So whale sightings are very common and a great bonus to this trip but they are not guaranteed.
Is there a tour which combines both whales and bears?
Because we have to go into different directions to watch the bears and the whales a combination trip would take us the same amount of time than the two separate tours combined (about 5 hours). Therefore we offer these trips separately to allow a break in-between. For the bears we go in Tofino's Inlet at low tide and for the whales we go in the opposite direction out on the open ocean.
Are sightings guaranteed?
The chances to see whales and bears are very high and we only have a few trips in our season where we are unlucky. We can not guarantee sightings as wildlife is unpredictable but we always do our very best to find the wildlife. In the rare event of no sightings we give you the option to either get a refund of 75% off the listed price or receive a rain-check to join our tour another time if we have seats available. This policy only applies to our whale and bear watch tours.
What kind of boat do you use for your tours?
For all our tours we are using our two 26ft open Zodiacs which take up to max. 12 passengers.
Is a tour with the Zodiac the right choice for me?
For our Whale and Hot Springs Tours it is the right choice for you if you bring a sense of adventure! Zodiacs are great boats for the open ocean because they are quick to manouver, fast to get to the wildlife and very stable with the surrounding tubes. In an open boat you feel closer to the nature and wildlife and there is no cabin or windows in front of you which takes away the open panoramic view. Like every open boat there is chances of getting wet when splashes of ocean water get into the boat or incase of rain but our suits and rain jackets will keep protected. Don't worry about your camera, we provide you with dry bags for those splashy, windy days :-). Also required for this tour is good health. This is not only a requirement for zodiac tours but for all boats this size as on the open ocean where we always have swell, sudden movements could happen and affect people with serious neck/back/spine issues, recent surgeries, other serious medical conditions and women who are pregnant. Children must be at least 8 years of age.
For our Zodiac Bear Watch Tour there are few restrictions because we will be going on calm, mainly wind sheltered areas with no waves. This tour is suitable for almost everbody. Children must be at least 6 years of age.
Please note that our boats are not wheelchair accessible and all our guests require to walk from our office down to our boat which is a walk of about 300 meters downhill.
What about sea sickness?
The whale watch tour and hot springs tour go out on the open Pacific Ocean where sea sickness can occur. If you are sensitiv for motion or sea sickness there is medicine you can take prior to the tour as well as only eat light food which is easy on your stomach. Drink only clear liquids (no caffeine), peppermint or ginger tea can help. The Zodiac's are great boats which are more stable than other boats. Because the tubes prevent the boat from moving too much to the sides which is a movement that often causes sea sickness.
If you join our bear watching tour you don't have to worry about sea sickness. This tour only goes onto calm waters which is like boating on a lake.
What equipment do you provide?
We provide all passengers with a full body Mustang Survival Suit which are Transport Canada Certified and will keep you safe incase of emergency. The suits have build-in life jackets for flotation and material which would keep you warm in the water.
These suits will keep you comfortably warm and dry throughout the trip. For colder days we will also provide you with gloves and toques.
What should I wear?
Please be dressed warmly for your tour. We recommend long sleeve shirts, fleece, sweater or light jacket, long pants and closed shoes (no sandals or flip flops).
Sunglasses and Sunsreen.
Do I need to make a reservation or can we book when we get to Tofino?
We recommend to book in advance especially if you have limited time here. Compared to the larger tour operators in town we don't have as many daily departures and therefore we fill up quite fast during the busy summer month. Once you have fixed your travel dates and booked a place to stay it would be a good idea to check with us for availability and deaprture times.
Is there a discount if I book more than one tour?
Yes, we give a $10 discount per person for a second tour and $20 discount per person for a third tour. Please contact us before you book two tours so we can give you the coupon code for the second tour discount. If you already made your booking, don't worry we will give you the discount refunded.
What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 48 hours cancellation policy. You can cancel or change your booking anytime before 48 hours prior to your tours departure to get a refund. We do charge a 3% cancellation fee to cover our credit card processing costs. For a cancellation later than 48 hours prior to the tours departure there won't be any refund.