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“Kind of a ... waste?”

Jamie's Whaling Station and Adventure Centres
Ranked #2 of 50 Tours in Tofino
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Jamie's is the West Coast's Original Whale & Wildlife Adventure Centre, navigating the waters of Clayoquot and Barkley Sound since 1982. We are thrilled to be celebrating over 30 years on the water! We have the largest fleet in the area, offering whale watching & bear watching on larger covered cruisers or zodiacs! Join our experienced and knowledgeable crew as we help you discover this beautiful destination. We also offer tours to Hot Springs Cove (by boat or seaplane), kayaking, water taxi service to Meares Island, scenic flights, and much more. Visit us at our Tofino and Ucluelet locations, where we have gift shops and lots of FREE parking (including RV parking in Tofino). Please note that all Jamie's tours are subject to a $3 research fee, which goes directly to benefit local, non-profit groups involved with wildlife research, rescue and education. We also have complimentary kennels in Tofino for your dogs while you're out exploring with us!
Cumming, Georgia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Kind of a ... waste?”
Reviewed September 14, 2012

The folks are so polite on the phone, but...don't waste your money. They jam-pack folks onto a minimally equipped boat and then fly as quickly as possible out to this one place where grey whales feed. Thirty minutes and back they fly past any potential sights--pointing them out as they speed past. They offer warm drinks which are cold and no longer offered by the halfway point, about the time you could really use something warm.

I thought it was an awful lot of money for a crowded stand at a railing packed two deep all around. And there was nothing luxurious about it. It's just a large, noisy fishing boat with seats. It shudders and shakes to make most photography difficult at best. I did hear others complaining so don't think I'm the only one. The crew mostly talked with each other or just stood around; they didn't seem at all interested in the clients. If you have any kind of valuable photography equipment, or a good bag or backpack, leave it behind...there was nowhere to set anything except in water. With three to a seat, there's no room on the seat.

On the positive, the area is absolutely breathtaking. Think of it as a tour of the shore, with a little whale-spotting thrown in if you are lucky. Spend your money accordingly.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank ImagesbyCarol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JWSAdventures, General Manager at Jamie's Whaling Station and Adventure Centres, responded to this review, November 16, 2012
Dear Carol,

I am extremely disappointed to hear that your whale watching tour did not meet with your expectations. All of the Jamie’s crew work very hard to offer the best west coast tour experiences possible.

I do want to clarify that all of Jamie’s vessels are indeed fully equipped and certified. Each year they undergo an annual inspection by Transport Canada. Our vessels’ equipment and crew exceed all government regulations for passenger vessels. Our larger vessels are not luxury yachts, or fishing boats, they are commercially designed and equipped specifically for whale and wildlife tours that take place on open ocean waters, with comfort and safety as top priority. If the larger vessels happen to fill to capacity, there is still more square footage per passenger than any other vessel in the area, with room to walk around and opportunities to view wildlife on three separate levels. Our large vessels are not exactly high-speed (compared to our smaller, open boats) but they do travel at speeds that are reasonable and comfortable for the purpose of our tours. Every tour there is a varying amount of travel time to see whales and other wildlife out on the open ocean, and if the crew happen to travel past something, it is likely due to knowing for certain there are better viewing opportunities up ahead, and all would be informed.

A significant part of every Jamie’s tour is ongoing commentary by the captain/skipper. The captains use a P.A. system to announce interesting and entertaining facts, stories and information about the area and its inhabitants. The crew are naturalists/deckhands who have a variety of duties to perform while onboard. They are responsible for ensuring the comfort and safety of passengers at all times, helping the captain to find whales by observing the open ocean on a continual basis, engaging one-on-one and sharing their knowledge with guests, and occasionally they will converse amongst themselves for various reasons.

Regarding the free coffee we offer, our captain did explain that our electrical was in the process of being upgraded and that, yes, this temporary interruption in service meant that the coffee would be hot at the start of the tour and cooler by the end. What was not mentioned in your review is that everyone was advised that there would be more free hot beverages (coffee, tea and hot chocolate) available after the tour inside our gift shop, where we have an indoor relaxation area for our customers to visit at their leisure.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to write about your experience. We celebrated our 30th Anniversary this year and as always we appreciate any feedback that will help us in our ongoing efforts to maintain our reputation as the leading adventure tour company on the west coast. We hope to see you again in the future and I am certain our crew will do their very best to exceed your expectations!

Yours truly,

Corene Inouye, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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821 reviews from our community

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Onanole, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great Whale Watching Day!”
Reviewed September 13, 2012

My husband & I enjoyed a whale watching tour with Jamie's Whaling Station, Tofino, B.C. on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. The skies were clear and blue, the temperature was up and there was absolutely no wind. What a great combination for a whale watching tour in a zodiac boat! Chris, our captain, showed us gray whales - a pair that we followed for about an hour and a half. Wow, they were amazing! Chris was very knowledgable about these particular whales and whales in general. Chris also found sea otters, sea lions and seals basking in the sun for our tour group to see. We certainly will consider Jamie's Whaling Station when we are in the Tofino again and would highly recommend their tours and a whale watching tour in a zodiac - it is the only way to see whales as far as we are concerned!

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Valerie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitehorse, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2012

I went on the zodiac tour in September. The water was super rough and I was a little nervous, but our guide was an excellent Captain! We saw so much more than I expected and were so close! We watched a grey whale surface fairly close to our boat, with full tail and all, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals and even a bear on shore! You don't really experience the beauty of Tofino without seeing the amazing sights from the ocean. Our guide was a nice down to earth guy who was quite knowledgeable. We had a fabulous time. Thanks so much!

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Meeshie_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A "Whale of a Time"!”
Reviewed September 12, 2012

Pardon the pun--lol! We actually went to the Jamies that is in Ucluelet rather than Tofino because we that's where were staying. We went out around 10:00 and were back in approx. 3 1/2 hrs. It was a beautiful day but always remember to take something warm to wear on the open water. We went out on the boat rather than the Zodiac and since it was not filled to capacity that day it was surprisingly easy to move around to get better vantage points as there are several levels to view from. While the Zodiacs may get more "up close & personal" we had the height advantage working for us and the ability to spot the animals from further away. The staff at Jamies are absolutely great--from the desk to the boat all were professional, courteous, friendly and helpful. The skipper on our tour was phenomenally well-informed and provided tons of interesting information--unfortunately the PA system was balky and we missed quite a bit of what he was saying. We saw both humpbacks and grays and I was lucky enough to see a gray breach twice, from start to finish--an incredibly moving sight! Taking pictures kind of detracts from the experience in a way--it's hard to give the give your full attention when you're attempting to shoot the "perfect" picture. The whales must be on retainer--they seemed to enjoy thrilling us as much as we loved seeing them, they hung around and swam under the boat and I swear they pick up the positive vibes of all the oohs & ahhs and respond by being as entertaining as they can be. It was a dream come true. I can't wait till the next time.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Terri C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Qualicum Beach, Canada
Level Contributor
89 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Professional Service”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

At the height of tourist season in August the staff members at Jamie's in Tofino were the best multi-taskers I've seen in a long time.

What with phones ringing, tours coming in and going out, shoppers, folks asking questions and making bookings - the staff was charming, helpful, polite.

We sent an overseas friend out on his first zodiac and whale watching expedition with Jamie's - and after the staff even helped book a flight to Hotspring's Cove (as a favour, with no commission to themselves).

Terrific service in a very competitive category.

Visited August 2012
2 Thank DalianEx-pat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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