We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

Which Tofino hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Ontario
posts: 308
reviews: 28
How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

My family of 4 adults has a whale watching tour in a Zodiac booked at 1:00pm. Our plan is to eat a good lunch about an hour before.

I've just read more than one account of people being nauseous after their Zodiac tours. Would the same thing apply during the tour if you have just eaten? Or would having a "full belly" be a good thing?

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 6,154
1. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

Rest assured if it's overly rough the tour will be cancelled- but there are lots of sheltered places in the area to see wildlife including whales.

In any case it's impossible to say who'll feel the effects of motion sickness- full belly or not.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,821
reviews: 54
2. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

Hi cindy ~

I've not done the zodiac boat, just the larger stable boat. But I have been on sailboats. I would say that if you're not at all prone to seasickness, it won't matter if you eat. The zodiac is an open boat where everyone wears jumpsuits. If the water is choppy, everyone will feel that. But again, if you have no problem with seasickness or nausea, you should be fine.

Victoria, Canada
posts: 84
reviews: 21
3. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

I'd suggest the covered boats for whale watching tours. Not only are they warmer, the washrooms are easily accessible. You should consider that you'll be bundled up in bulky all-weather suits on the zodiac, and I don't think there are washroom facilities on board. It's a lot choppier than the bigger boats. If you have neck or back issues, the zodiac is not for you.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,901
reviews: 13
4. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

How rough is a zodiac whale watching tour?

It's not rough at all.

Personally, I'm a huge fans of zodiacs. They're faster than regular vessels and they cut through the waves in ways that other boats don't. If you hit some big waves (ie: the wake of other boats), there could be some SLAM-SLAM-SLAM-SLAM movements, but it passes and it's not scary. Other boats would ride those waves out... up, up, up... and down... up up up and down... that's the major difference.

I wouldn't say they're rough rides though, but there is certainly zippy movement across the water. The coast guard uses zodiacs because of their speed and stability - they're a lot of fun and it's exhilarating. I personally find that it adds to the experience.

The only downside, as previously highlighted, is that the washroom is located at the back of the boat and it can be a bit tricky to maneuver to the back - for the most part, you stay seated the entire time on the zodiac. I

Personally, I think it's totally worth doing. As Sam said, if the water conditions are too rough, they'll cancel the whale watching trip - even on the sunniest of days, if it's too windy to go out, they'll cancel the trip and wait for when the water's calmer.

Finally, whale watching out of Tofino is done in sheltered coves but also on the open ocean. There's more energy in that water than around Victoria which is sheltered on the other side of Vancouver Island from the Pacific. I have never gone whale watching out of Tofino, but the open ocean is a different beast, providing the whole ocean swell movement - something you don't get in Victoria. I'm just telling you this because it really won't matter what boat you're on - you may feel the ocean more in Tofino than around Victoria.

Edited: 9:50 pm, April 29, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,901
reviews: 13
5. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

I should also mention, where you are seated on the zodiac can influence your experience. If you sit at the very front, you're going to feel much more up-down movement as you go over waves. It's fun and not rough, but if you're not seeking movement or if you're a little apprehensive, sit at the back of the boat - it doesn't move nearly as much, but you may get more spray at the back.

I used to work for a whale watch company based out of Vancouver almost 10 years ago, and before I worked for them, I assumed zodiacs were the same boats that people go on when they go white water rafting (ie: a rubber dinghy).

I also assumed that people wear those bright orange life suits because, again, I assumed it was like white water rafting and that you're going to get wet. But that's not the case. The life suits are a mandatory part of zodiac safety measures - they act as life jackets, but they also keep you warm and dry. You're also not going to get wet - just a bit of spray.

Ontario
posts: 308
reviews: 28
6. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

Thanks everyone for your replies! We're looking forward to our Zodiac adventure! :)

7. Re: How rough is a Zodiac whale watching tour?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11:17 pm, June 18, 2013