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“The 'Free trip voucher' is not worth the paper it's written on - Disappointed”

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Tide Rip Grizzly Tours Ltd. is a small independent company located in Telegraph Cove on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For over 15 years, Tide Rip has been leading daily boat-based expeditions to view and photograph the wild grizzly bears and other spectacular wildlife native to coastal British Columbia. We subscribe to the philosophy: 'conservation through coexistence' and endeavour to promote that through outreach education programs and presentations, fundraising projects, and sponsoring conservation NGOs, in addition to our daily grizzly bear tours.
Betws y Coed
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“The 'Free trip voucher' is not worth the paper it's written on - Disappointed”
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We did this trip in late August 2012. Unfortunately we didn't see a Grizzly bear. We did enjoy the trip, the scenery was lovely, and the guides tried their very best to find some bears for us. On the way home we did see a Black bear, and we couldn't fault the trip at all - sometimes nature just doesn't fit in with your plans.

Our real issue though was with how we were dealt with after the trip. We were issued with a Voucher for a free trip. We immediately asked whether we could book ourselves on 5 days later when we knew we would be returning to Telegraph cove after a kayaking trip. We were told that those with vouchers were not allowed to book a place, but instead had to wait to see whether there were spare spaces, once all the paying customers were booked on.

We decided to take a gamble, and booked ahead for a nights accommodation in telegraph cove, on the offchance that we would be able to get a space on the following days trip. We contacted Tiderip the day before, and were told that the trip was full and we wouldn't be given a space. If we had been allowed to book it 5 days earlier when we originally enquired, then we would have been able to go.

We happened to be free the following day as well, and were told, at 11am on a Saturday, that there were 6 spaces left on Sunday's trip. But we weren't allowed to book a place. We asked when we would know whether we could get on the trip - we were told to come back at around 5pm to see if there was still a space.

I explained that given that it was a Saturday, which happened to be Labor day weekend, we would have to book accommodation asap for that night and the following night, if we were going to stay for the trip. So we really needed to know whether we would be able to have a space. The guy dismissively said "oh there's plenty of accommodation in Port McNeill, you'll be fine" and repeated that would have to come back after 5pm to see if there was any space available for the next day.

We decided that it wasn't worth the gamble of booking 2 more night's accommodation on the offchance that we could go on the trip, plus potentially wasting another 2 days of our holiday - so we left.

The tour operators basically make it as difficult as possible for you to use your voucher, so it's barely worth the paper it is written on. This was a very expensive trip, and we would have expected them to honour their 'free trip' promise by allowing us to book a place on one of the 2 days we tried for. I also wonder, given that it's a 'Lifetime voucher' how we would ever use the voucher again. If we are lucky enough to come back to Vancouver Island, would we travel all the way to Telegraph cove on the offchance that we would happen to get a space on a trip, without being able to book it? Unlikely. We were disappointed.

Visited August 2012
6 Thank GermanShepherdDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wonderfulbc, Owner at Tide Rip Grizzly Tours, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Thank you for your detailed review on the voucher issue.

In the rare event that bears are not seen, Tide Rip offers a Grizzly Bear Trip Voucher that entitles its bearer to a complimentary trip at some point in the future. It is intended as a compromise between meeting people’s expectations while still covering the operational costs of excursions into a remote wilderness setting.

Tide Rip is small independent company with limited capacity and although we try to accommodate everyone, restrictions detailed on the voucher itself must apply to its redemption, particularly as we are a seasonal enterprise and the month of August is peak season. It is important to note that a significant proportion of people that were not fortunate enough to observe bears on their first trip, subsequently redeemed their voucher and with successful sightings. We recognize that it is often most convenient for people to reschedule an additional trip while their vacation plans continue to have them in the immediate area. Therefore, for 2013 we will be implementing small amendments to our reservation procedure whereby a limited number of seats can be secured in advance by voucher holders.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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535 reviews from our community

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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Responding to “A Mary Poppins Promise” (below)”
Reviewed September 16, 2012

Yes, I have used a lifetime voucher, and it was in fact on the very same trip as you, on 7 September. I was in "the other boat".

Tide Rip is a company that takes you far above the usual one or two or three-hour long tourist "trips" and gives you a full day's safari into genuinely hard-to-access wilderness. The two-hour boat journey to and from the cove is fascinating; a wonderful trip so close to the water, breathtaking scenery, a very high chance of seeing marine wildlife (you say you saw a large group of dolphins) plus informative information from, and friendly discussion with, the excellent tour guides.

Negotiating the very shallow water in the flat-bottomed boat is great fun, and simply being in the cove itself is beautiful; it's a tranquil, magical place where just siting in silence, quietly absorbing the atmosphere, is a hugely rewarding experience in itself.

The company clearly state that they cannot guarantee bear sightings, and indeed I could say that it was because of not seeing bears on my first trip with Tide Rip last year that I was, thanks to the lifetime voucher, able to have this fabulous experience a second time - for free.

And I have to respond; of course the buffet was cold. Did you actually expect a hot lunch on a wildlife safari in the middle of nowhere?! Not only that, but while they could easily and legitimately have offered - as many companies do -a pre-prepared sandwich, lunch is actually a help-yourself buffet of different types of bread, cold meats, vegetables, sauces, fruit, cookies, tea, coffee and a selection of cold drinks.

We too saw many eagles as well as the black bear and the deer that you did, though sadly not the dolphins that you saw. You say "So we did see something but not any bears". This trip is a genuine visit into wild bears' natural environment, where seeing or not seeing them is entirely on their terms. For me, the anticipation and excitement of possibly seeing a bear, combined with the wonderful experience as a whole, is more than enough for me to look forward to hopefully making a third visit one day. But if you really do want a guaranteed 100% certain sighting of a bear, go to the zoo.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Aidan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“superb, the best way to see bears”
Reviewed September 14, 2012

An excellent tour (combined with whale watching in Campbell river). We were in a boat with Lyndsey and I think Matt (from Portsmouth). The tour was great, we saw grizzly bears really early in the tour (female with her 2 cubs catching salmon), this was an experience I will always remember. The guides work so hard, actually getting in the water and dragging the boat around so the noise is minimised. We also saw another grizzly bear in another area and then had lunch on a beach which had amazing views. We also saw black bears and bald eagles feeding, I learnt so much on the day and it was one of the highlights of our holiday.

Visited August 2012
Thank 27steve118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
177 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“worth the exorbitant cost”
Reviewed September 13, 2012

The speedboat picked us up in Alert Bay at the crack of dawn, then took on others and went 70 k into the Knight Inlet, where we found the pink salmon spawning and the grizzlies, eagles and ravens feasting. The crew was excellent, knowledgeable, and physically fit. On the way we saw lovely landscape among the islands and fjords, a couple of black bears, and some signs of distant whales. At the inlet we transferred into two-story skiffs that went into a shallow river where we found one adolescent grizzly feasting on one salmon after another. It got a little crowded there with other watchers from other boats, but we were really there in abundant nature, so it was fine. The crew used waders to move the skiff among the shallows. We also got close to lots of bald eagles. A long, exciting, and rewarding day.

Visited August 2012
Thank roadtrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing day”
Reviewed September 11, 2012

We spent September 1 on the Tide Rip grizzly tour and it was fabulous. Lindsey and Pascale were wonderful guides and we saw juvenile bears sparring and playing, a mother bear supervising and eating and, that afternoon, watched two bears swimming and playing in the water of Knight Inlet. It was a fantastic trip.

Visited September 2012
Thank kayakerdiane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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