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“Whale watching with Ocean Outfitters”
Review of Ocean Outfitters

Ocean Outfitters
Ranked #3 of 51 Tours in Tofino
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Tofino's carbon neutral adventure tour company. Join Ocean Outfitters for adventures in Clayoquot Sound including guaranteed whale watching, bear watching, coastal hot springs tours, private charters, sea to sky tours and Meares Island walks, remote kayaking, remote SUP, salt and freshwater fishing. Comfortable covered vessels and zodiacs. Free parking. Organic espresso bar. Open year round for hot springs tours. FUN and educational. Book online and save!
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage, Stroller parking
Reviewed November 11, 2011

This was a very nice trip but a little disappointing because the whales that were seen were from quite a distance. The humpback whales were really not visible unless you just happened to look at the right spot at the right time. The California whales were easier to see but there wasn't much activity - maybe a "blow" or a slight flip.
Captain Misty was great. She explained how to watch for the whales and did her best to point them out when there was movement - the whales just weren't very cooperative.
We did see a lot of sea otters on the rocks - sleeping and being very lazy.
The boat ride in the Pacific was fun and Misty made it very interesting as well. After all, it wasn't her fault the whales weren't very active.

Thank Jern1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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361 - 365 of 418 reviews

Reviewed October 7, 2011

We booked the Hot Springs tour with them and the day before a storm rolled through. We assumed the trip was going to be cancelled but it was not (though it should have been due to rough seas). The other outfitting companies cancelled their tours and Ocean Outfitters should have done so also. There was no mention that the ocean would be rough or the option to opt out. The lady said they left the decision up to the skipper and this was part of the problem. While I don't doubt our skipper's boat handling abilities, he was very young and slightly cocky and seemed to want to go out just to do it regardless that he was going to give everyone a horrible experience. We didn't pay a lot of money to have a terrifying experience. The water was way too rough for my or anyone else's liking. Plus he told us that if anyone was going to get sea sick to go out back but then it got too dangerous so everyone was stuck. I've done a lot of boating and been through the end of a hurricane 5 years ago and this was ridiculous in comparison. The trip should have been cancelled and we should have never gone out and wasted 4 hours on a awful boat ride.

2  Thank DianakMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
splash11, Owner at Ocean Outfitters, responded to this reviewResponded October 18, 2011

Please allow us the opportunity to respond to your comment. We would never force anyone to do anything. Had you mentioned to us that you wanted to cancel for the day, you would have been refunded immediately. Guests were informed that the Captain was going to survey the conditions. It was made clear to everyone that we could not guarantee we could get all the way; that there was a possibility the boat would turn around. It was optional for guests to participate and all agreed they wanted to, including you. Guests knew they would be fully refunded if in fact we turned around. There are several sources of information we collect reports from before departing and one was directly from Hot Springs Cove, this report was positive.
We operate “safety first” which means that decisions to cancel a tour can be made at any time along the way. Storms can blow up out of nowhere…there can be inclement weather conditions in one area of travel and not the other …. we see it all. It is always the driver’s decision, they are extremely accredited seamen. Although your captain looks youthful, he is an expert. He was born and raised on this coast and has been driving a boat since a young age. I assure you, you were in the most capable hands. We only select the best.
You mentioned that all other outfitters had cancelled but this was not the case. There were in fact two other companies running tours that day. We were in contact the entire time.
For those suffering from motion sickness, being outside in the fresh air on the stern deck is the best place to be but there are times a Captain will ask all guests to remain seated for their own safety whether it be a whale watch, a hot springs tour or even a bear watch up the inlets.
We consistently do our best to set high standards and provide quality experiences for our guests.

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Reviewed September 29, 2011

I'm not an early riser but it was definitely worth the effort for this 8am trip. We were on the rib, which gets in close and quietly. It was a bright day and we only had slight rain near end of trip, so no problems about being uncovered. We had six sightings of bears including a mother and two cubs. I hadn't realised we would see so many bears, so it was just amazing. The bears were unconcerned by us, they were busily turning over rocks and feasting on whatever lurked below. We weren't lucky enough to see wolves but did see a bald eagle being chased by an angry gull, we also saw some seals. The guide was very knowledgable and was careful not to disturb the animals. Just wonderful, a trip to remember for ever.

1  Thank Bonniebraes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2011

We took the Hot Springs Cove tour since the website (and person we spoke to when making the reservation) said that it combines whale watching and bear watching along with the trip to Hot Springs Cove. It is a 6-7 hour tour so that seemed possible. Really it was more of a boat ride to the hot springs (which were interesting but not worth devoting our whole day to) where you may see a couple of whales. We were informed when we asked at check in that this wasn't the right time of day to see bears. We would have been better off taking a dedicated whale watch where we could have seen more whales, less time riding in a boat and hanging out at the crowded springs for 3 hours. An expensive disappointment.

2  Thank MAKASB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
splash11, Owner at Ocean Outfitters, responded to this reviewResponded October 11, 2011

As an owner operator of Ocean Outfitters I feel I do need to respond to this comment . I realize that you are feeling as though we mislead you however I would ask you to read our website closely as it clearly states that we can't guarantee wildlife sightings on this particular tour. Our captains do make a serious effort to show you all the wildlife they can, and as such have a great success rate throughout the year. Clayoquot Sound is a rich and diverse marine ecosystem , every day nature reveals something new and exciting. The departure you chose did not fall on the low tide when bears make their way down to the shoreline to forage for food. I'm sorry you did not see a bear but am pleased you spent time with whales and other coastal creatures. As far as the hotsprings being crowded I cannot dispute this as it was August and that is the busiest time for tourists in this area. The off season can also be an enchanting time to visit Tofino!

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Reviewed September 18, 2011

We went on the whale watch trip with our 6 year old nephew and 9 year old niece. We hoped they wouldn't be bored floating around in a boat looking for whales. They didn't even need to see whales they had so much fun riding in the Zodiac. But we did see whales too, we watched Grey whales feeding and then hung out with a Humpback who breached twice...maybe 50 meters from us!!! The kids screamed with excitement . They loved the trip as much as we did. Amazing!
Our driver was knowlegdable and respectful of the whales and wildlife. All of the staff we encountered from booking to the boat were friendly. We will definitely go again!

Thank Sherry08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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