We most often see the majestic Gray whales! We occasionally see Humpback whales in the summer months, and Orca (Killer) whales as well, but only a couple times a month (without notice), as they are transient Orcas.
What types of whales can we see?
When is the best time of day for whale & bear sightings?
In our experience, there isn't any better time of day for whale sightings. They are in our coastal areas all the time!
For bear sightings, we set our departure times according to low tide, as that is when the bears come out down to the shoreline to find crabs and other critters to eat.
When is the best time of year for whale & bear sightings?
We see whales from March right through until the end of October and we see bears from April through October.
How close do we get to the whales & bears?
We are regulated, by the Canadian DFO, to stay at least 100 meters away from the whales. We respect these guidelines and the safety of the whales we view. It is however, possible for the whales to swim towards our boats as they can be curious and playful creatures.
For bear watching, we aim to keep a safe and respectful distance from the bears as to ensure they feel comfortable with us being there while they feed and play. If they are scared away by boats approaching too closely it can make them search for safer areas that may be out of reach.
What if we don't see a whale? (or bear)
Jamie's Whale and Bear Raincheck Guarantee:
As with any wildlife viewing tours, we cannot say with 100% certainty that we will find the animals we are seeking. As an added value, we offer our Raincheck Guarantee.
If you join us on a Whale Watching tour and do not see a whale, we will provide you with a non-expiring raincheck ticket, allowing you to join us on another tour - free of charge!
If you join us on a Bear Watching tour and do not see a bear, we will provide you with a non-expiring raincheck ticket, allowing you to join us on another tour - free of charge!
How early should I make a reservation?
We generally recommend booking as soon as you have confirmed your travel dates. However, giving yourself a week before departure is normally a sufficient amount of time to confirm reservations.
Please note: Our high season falls between June and mid-September, and during this time we recommend booking as soon as possible as tours often sell out. Also, if your travel dates are not flexible it is best to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!
You may view how many seats are available on a given tour by searching our online booking system.
What should we wear/bring on the tours?
We recommend everyone dress in warm layered clothing for all our tours. It is always cooler on the water, even in the warm days of summer. Also recommended are camera, sunscreen, gloves, hat, rain gear if raining, binoculars, and your sense of adventure.
We are all here to have fun!
Zodiac tours (in addition to the recommendations above):
-We provide a full body zodiac suit (the big red suits) that provide some warmth and floatation, however we still recommend to wear warm layers and jackets underneath.
-Enclosed shoes with socks (we don't recommend flip-flops or open sandals)
-Sunglasses are a great idea for protection against the wind and splashing water
Hot Springs Cove tours (in addition to the recommendations above):
-Comfortable walking shoes for the trail
-Swimsuit and towel
-Full lunch & beverages (no glass please). There is no fresh-water drinking source available.
-Although not necessary, water shoes, sandals or old running shoes are recommended if you have them. Hot Springs Cove is left quite natural - a waterfall feeding into small pools in the rocky headlands. The terrain is rocky and can often be slippery.
-A backpack or tote bag to comfortably carry your belongings.
-A watch or timepiece so you can be back at the dock in time to meet the boat for the trip back to Tofino.
Should I worry about motion sickness?
If you are prone to motion sickness while in a car, or have experienced sea sickness in the past, we recommend being prepared by visiting a pharmacy to discuss the best option for you. Fortunately, there are many options to reduce the risk of becoming sea sick. We normally have ginger tea available in our offices, which can help to settle the stomach.
It's always a good idea to talk to our crew members if you begin feeling unwell. Although they cannot stop these feelings, they have suggestions on what you can do to reduce the chance.