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You are going Whale Watching for the first time (with SpringTide) and are not entirely sure what to expect? If your answer is yes, then buckle up and read closely as we give you the most important information.

Before booking:

Let’s start right at the beginning and talk about the two different vessels you can choose from: 

Vessel number 1 is our Ocean Cruiser, named Marauder IV, which is the more comfortable ride suitable for any age group. There is a heated cabin, a 360-degree walk-around outside deck, indoor and outdoor seating (in the cabin, in the back of the boat, on the bow and up at the captain’s bridge), a washroom as well as complementary hot drinks (tea, hot chocolate & coffee).

Vessel number 2 is our Zodiac, named Fastide. This is the more adventurous and bouncier ride where you won’t be able to hide from the wind. So no matter the weather on shore, layers are essential and you might want to bring a toque/beanie as well as a scarf. You will also get to wear those really cool red full-body flotation suits which will help protect you from the elements (however, they are not waterproof!) but their main purpose is for your safety and flotation in case we have to abandon the vessel. You can participate in our Zodiac tours from the age of 7/height of 4”5 (135 cm); it’s not suitable for expectant mothers or anyone with neck or back problems.

There is no right or wrong choice in regards to our vessels, the chances of seeing whales doesn’t increase or decrease. In the end, it’s what you feel more comfortable with and what suits your party more. 

After booking/before departure:

Once you finish your booking, you will receive your confirmation via email. The afternoon before your trip you will receive a confirmation call (or email if we can’t reach you) with the most important information for your upcoming whale watching experience. We will inform you that check-in is half an hour before departure at our office @1119 Wharf Street. If you are arriving by car, there is an Indigo parking lot below our office @1112 Wharf Street. Please make sure to allow enough time to find a parking space and pay the meter.
However, the most important information is: No matter how warm of a day it is, please remember to dress warmly as it will cool off on the water and you will probably be exposed to wind – think in layers! 

What you can expect to see on the tour:

The 2 most common whales in our waters are the orcas (can be seen year round) and the humpbacks (migrate here from Hawaii/Mexico to spend their summer here). On the very rare occasion we might also find a minke whale or a gray whale. Whereas we have a whale guarantee – which includes that you can come back as often as it takes to see a whale – we don’t guarantee which kind of whale you will see. So keep an open mind! 

We are first and foremost looking for whales but during the trip there is also a chance that we will encounter harbor seals, Steller and California sea lions, sea otters, harbor porpoises, different kinds of birds, jelly fish and more. We’ll never know what we find out there before we go but isn’t that the thrill of it? 😉

Day of your tour:

We do have daily 10am and 2pm departures with both vessels (depending on demand) and sunset trips in the high season. No matter which trip you are booked on, check-in is always 30 minutes before departure in our office. Please make sure to be on time as the boat won’t wait for anyone! 

During check-in all outstanding balances need to be settled, if you are pre-paid it’s going to be even faster for you. If you join us on an Ocean Cruiser tour we need you to add your name to our manifest whereas on the Zodiac trip you will need to sign our liability waiver.

Once all guests are checked in, we will do a roll call and one of our crew will take you down to the boat. Our Ocean Cruiser usually departs from the inner harbor which is about a 5 minute walk from the office whereas the Zodiac departs from our dock down by the parking lot (about 2-3 minute walk). Once you are all settled in the respective vessel and have gone through the safety briefings the search for whales begins. As soon as we pass Ogden Point and leave the harbor behind, our vessels can go up to full speed.

Every day on the water is different: There are no fixed routes we travel every day; the route is rather dependent on the wind and where wildlife has already been reported. We are working together closely with all the whale watching companies in the area and immediately inform each other when whales have been spotted. Normally, it takes roughly an hour to find the wildlife; however, sometimes they are also not too far out from the harbor. It really just depends and there is never a guarantee. After all, the wildlife is wild. There is also not a “best time of the day” to find whales. In the morning, the search might be a bit tougher as all the companies roughly start going out at the same time whereas in the afternoon you might already have a better idea of where to go. Nevertheless, whales travel quite a lot of distance during the day, so there’s never a guarantee that the afternoon trip will be seeing the same wildlife as the morning trip. In the end, every trip has the same chance to be amazing!

After the tour:

If you enjoyed your trip with us, feel free to leave a review on Google or TripAdvisor to tell your fellow travelers about it 🙂 

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