Tofino Whale Watching/Kayaking

Aug 26th, 2001, 07:34 AM
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Tofino Whale Watching/Kayaking

We'll be in Tofino this fall, in early October. I see that there are quite a lot of outfits that have whale watching and/or kayaking. Does anyone have recommendation on the best outfits out there? From prior experience elsewhere, I know there can be an enormous difference between the good ones and the bad ones....

Any suggestions much appreciated!


Aug 27th, 2001, 03:38 AM
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Mike -
You will like Tofino.It is very georgeous and laid back.I agree about the many tours the area has to offer.
This was our first visit to the area
and I did as much research that I could.
My wife and myself took two tours out of the area.We chose Jaimies whaling station.They have a office right in Tofino and Ucluelet.Ucluelet is about a 40 minute drive south of Tofino.Jamies
Tofino office suggested that we take the
whale tour out of Ucluelet for several reasons,you go thru some of the broken
group islands,they take you to a place
called sea lion rocks,and bald eagles nest that rests on the edge of the rocky shore.We saw on our tour ea lions,bald eagles,grey whales & humpback
whales.We chose the 45' boat over the zodiac,and were glad we did-it gets very chilly out there and ,they give
hot coccoa or coffee,and have a restroom
We also took a bear watch trip out of
Tofino- in clayoquot sound ,which I think go's around meares island,this tour only offered the zodiac boat ,and we enjoyed that because the trip was
smoother than the whale trip -so we got
the 45' boat and the zodiac experience.
We did see a mother bear and her two little cubs on shore digging for crabs,
what a sight our guide took us right up
to them and they payed us no-attention.
I hope this helps,I felt like you did in
trying to choose a tour company,for once I feel my "research" payed off,very
pleased and my photos show it.We really like Tofino and the part of Pacific Rim
we saw and having grown up in Florida
by the beach,this area brings the "beach
atmosphere" to a new level.
ps-we went in July.Jamies does have a web site with telephone number.

Aug 27th, 2001, 04:58 AM
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Hi Mike - we also went with Jamies and were very happy - took the Zodiac out of Tofino. It was a really wet, rough day but we still had lots of fun.
Aug 27th, 2001, 07:28 AM
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John/Elizabeth, thanks so much for your reponses. I've seen Jamies' website, and it looks great. I had a couple of follow-up questions I hope you could help me with:

- How long was the whale watching from Uculet and Tofino?

- Elizabeth, what sort of whales did you get to see from Tofino? We've had some dissapointing trips (such as from Boston) in which you just see a grey hump briefly break the water and then vanish, and we saw very little of that in any event.

John, I'm really curious about the bear watching - sounds pretty amazing. How long was the trip? (the web site doesn't mention)

Thanks again!

Aug 27th, 2001, 08:23 AM
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Our whale trip lasted around 2.5-3 hrs.
Keep in mind ,when we made our reservation the lady suggested we should
take the tours the way we did because of
the most recent sightings.Whales are tricky,those big guys give little warning ,but WOW ,what a show they put
on-our guide let everyone take as much time needed for photos and viewing.
They also say about once a month Orcas
will pass thru.The bear trip was awesome.
according to our guide ,every day at low tide black bears come to the shore
in search of crabs,and they turn rocks over in search of these treats.We watched mom and her 2 little cubs turning them over,the cubs were something else,imagine those little cubs imitating mom,the strength was incredible.this trip lasted again about
2.5-3 hrs.Both were well worth the money spent and they give a combo discount.I just got on there web site
and the reason for the different daily
departures ,reflects tide changes.You
are making me want to go back!

Aug 27th, 2001, 08:33 AM
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Mike - unfortunately we didn't see any whales - just eagles and otters that day. We were in Tofino in early May which I'm told had something to do with the lack of activity. We could have gone out on another whale watching trip for free as Jamie's 'guarantees' a whale sighting.

Our trip was 2.5 hours but you have to get there at least half an hour beforehand (to put on the giant gumby-like survival suites!) so all in we were probably 3.5 hours.

Despite not seeing a whale we still had a great time!
Aug 27th, 2001, 08:34 AM
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Oops - should be survival suits!
Aug 27th, 2001, 11:14 AM
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John/Elizabeth - thanks so much for the quick responses! I very much appreciate your help and recommendations. I'm very much looking forward to getting out to Tofino, and seeing some whales and bears!

Thanks again,

Sep 3rd, 2001, 01:57 PM
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We were just in Tofino last week - first time I've been there in over 25 years! The place is beautiful, but keep in mind that theweather is very 'iffy'. It was gorgeous when we left Victoria, pouring by the time we got to Tofino. Next morning was cloudy, but cleared up nicely. We took a trip to the hot springs which was very nice. As a bonus, we got to see a whale, a sea otter and several sea lions on our way back! The final morning it was so foggy we couldn't see a thing! That was disappointing. We had planned to spend the morning at Long Beach and then go to Ucluelet. The power was also out along the coast because of a truck accident - we ended up stopping briefly at the beach so my husband could at least say he saw it and then we headed to Ucluelet in search of coffee! Not much there - Tofino is much nicer in my opinion. There are some nice restaurants in Tofino - we had heard that the Rainforest Cafe was recommended and we were glad we had made a reservation the night before. It's small and was very busy. Food was very good. Also had wonderful barbecued oysters our first evening.

Have a great trip.
Sep 3rd, 2001, 05:05 PM
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Hi Susan, thanks for your info. Which company did you use to go to the Hot Springs - Jamie's?

I certainly know all about the iffy weather - last time we were there, it rained almost the entire time, but we still had fun - strolled along Long Beach and the trails in the drizzle, but had them to ourselves!


Sep 3rd, 2001, 06:19 PM
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Mike, if I can find the Visa slip, I'd know the name of the company we used. I've just gone through my bills and I guess my husband has it. We got a 10% discount with the place where we stayed. I know it wasn't Jamie's.

I lived a few years out on the west coast when I was young (and my family still live just outside of Vancouver, so I go back every year), so I was prepared for the weather. But the Long Beach experience was disappointing. You literally couldn't see too far ahead of you. But what can you expect - it is the rain forest!
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