I just came back from a whale watching trip with Wescoast Aquatic Safaris and can't wait for a chance to go again! I found the staff at check-in friendly and helpful. After checking in, the office staff escorted our group down the street to the marina and the boat.
THE BOAT: The tour boat 'Wasco' (which means 'Sea Wolf') is very well maintained and exceptionally clean. There are two levels to view from- the upper level and lower (inside the cabin) which makes whalewatching in all weather conditions very comfortable, plus there's a washroom. There are three benches in the upper level (two people per bench) with an unobstructed view in every direction. The seats are nicely padded which makes a bumpy ride in the ocean much nicer! The boat is a sizeable 31 feet so it is less bumpy to ride in as opposed to a zodiac. Plus you don't have to wear those dorky orange survival suits! ;) This would be a good choice as well, if you have back pain since this boat provides a bit more of a smoother ride than zodiacs. Sure there are even bigger boats such as the Leviathan at Jamie's, but do you really want to share your tour with 40 other people? Nah.
OUR CAPTAIN: Jeff is soft-spoken and friendly and very knowledgeable. On the way out he drove us to a 50 year old eagle's nest (still in use!) and explained many facts about eagles as we floated, taking pictures. Then a leisurely cruise near the coastline past Chesterman Beach, Cox Bay, Schooner Cove to see sea otters, and to Long Beach to view the whales. While waiting for the whales to surface he told us alot of facts on whales and whale behavior. We saw quite a few grey whales come to the surface. Mostly mists and some tail flukes were caught on my shaky camera! He then took us to a Stellar Sealion colony off of Comber's Beach where there were tons of sealions lounging on about 3 huge haulouts barking away! We drove a couple miles out to sea to look for humpbacks, but today they were hiding, so we headed back home. The odd time there were some fairly big waves, and Jeff handled the boat like a pro. I don't go out on the ocean very often and I felt completely safe!
Check out their website because they also do bear watching and bird watching trips as well as trips to the Hot Springs. whalesafaris.com
FYI- ask where the flush handle is in the onboard bathroom BEFORE you use it! ;)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.