That Time we Went Whale Watching in Tofino, BC

Travel Diary

A few years ago we were feeling the wanderlust but we didn't have a lot of money to go anywhere. Luckily we lived on Vancouver Island which is a pretty great place to see with lots of nature and parks. 

It was July and we wanted to go somewhere cool for our holiday so we looked and found a deal for whale watching in Tofino. Tofino is on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and is right near Pacific Rim National Park.

We drove the ole Beater with a Heater our 96 Dodge Dakota. Not too great on gas since it had a 5.1L V8 engine but it got us there.
The great thing about the west coast is Long Beach which is a nice sandy beach. A lot of people go surfing in Tofino. It's cold so you have to wear a full wet suit with gloves and a hood.
It looks like fun but we've never surfed in Tofino. We have surfed in Mexico where it is much warmer. One of these days we will be Surfin' in Tofino like the song by the Montreal ska band The Planet Smashers.

Visiting Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park is a must. It does take a long time to drive there so people visiting Vancouver Island for only a short amount of time might not have enough time.
We took our time exploring the beach and enjoying nature. There are lots of hiking trails on the way to Tofino so we stopped at a few and hiked around. The weather was not too bad but Tofino is not the warmest place. The weather is mild so it doesn't have extreme weather either way. As I'm writing this in May the temperature is 11 degrees Celsius and raining.
We got to the town of Tofino which took us two minutes to walk around. We found our hotel the Weigh West Marine Resort. I believe we ate some veggie sushi at a restaurant nearby. If you are looking for vegan food on a visit to Tofino might we would recommend looking for the Tacofino Food Truck which has a vegan burrito. Their site says they are located in the parking lot of the surf shop called Live to Surf. The surf shop offers surfing lessons which is worth looking into.
We woke up early the next day and got suited up to go on the Zodiac boat to see some whales. We wore these over our clothes because the water is super cold if you fall in.
It was a lot of fun riding around on the Zodiac.
We saw quite a few whales spouting and we saw their tails. It's very tricky getting good pictures of them since they come up unexpectedly and you have to take a picture quick. Rapid fire mode could be a good way to go for next time.
All the whales we saw were Grey Whales but sometimes they see Humpbacks and Orcas.
We saw a bunch of seals and sea lions as well. They make a lot of noise.
Back on shore we walked around Tofino a bit more after checking out of the hotel. It was Canada Day so there was some activities going on. There was a market selling food and crafts. We bought a painting of a bee from an artist that looked like she was very stoned. Then we watched a skateboard competition for a little while.
The drive back was beautiful because you are surrounded by green for a large amount of time. We also had to stop unexpectedly as a little black bear ran out in front of our truck.


 On the way back we stopped by the Kwisitis Visitor Centre. Another cool thing to check out is the Rainforest Hiking Trails. For more advice on planning a visit to Tofino check out the tourism website.

Have you ever been to tofino? Or have been whale watching?

Comments

  1. Hi guys, this looks so nice and close to untouched nature. Getting vegan food - vegan sushi...sounds good! - after enjoying beauty of nature makes absolute sense.

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  2. Wow, I really want to explore Canada more, thanks for the tips!

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  3. I live in BC and I STILL haven't gone whale watching here! It's been over 15 years since I was last in Tofino. Your post makes me wanna go back there asap!

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    1. Yeah, that's why we went. We heard about all these tourists going to Tofino and whale watching and decided to be tourists in our own backyard.

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  4. We also went whale watching but in Sri Lanka - isn't it amazing seeing these huge creatures just metres from your boat!? Agree with the rapid button to take photos too, they're big but they're so quick!

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    1. Whale watching in Sri Lanka? Wow that sounds amazing.

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  5. Whale watching sounds so interesting! The place looks so lovely, especially the road trips.

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  6. I've yet to visit Canada - but it's on my top 5 list ;) Combining hiking with nightsky photography... (Having a look at a darksite finder map, it's like Canada doesn't have any light pollution at all :D ). Also: I really envy you - I haven't been on a whale-spotting tour yet, but went scuba to see whales & whalesharks quite a few times... and never had any luck.

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    1. Canada is a huge country and all the people live along the border with the USA so a lot of empty space without lights. We feel pretty lucky to have seen whales. Not everyone does. Scuba diving would be awesome too.

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  7. Whale watching sounds only so exciting, so I can feel how exciting it must have been to be doing it in real. I will definitely do it when I get a chance. The drive is also very beautiful, like you described. It seems to add to the pleasure of the whole trip.

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    1. It was really fun. I hope you get a chance to go whale watching.

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  8. It looks like it was very cold, haha! Nevertheless, it must have been an incredible experience to see the whales up so close. And maybe slightly scary? And I can imagine how difficult it was to take a picture of them but you caught a tail!

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    1. It wasn't super cold but it was kind of rainy. We had to wear those zodiac suits in case we fell in the water as the water is cold. This was in July so it was probably 15 degree celsius.

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  9. This looks like such a fun activity to do! I would definitely try this. I love whale watching!

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  10. Looks like an amazing experience!. Would love to visit this place soon.

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