Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Foggy start with a sunny ending

It was a foggy start to the day today for our hot springs guests. West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests were at our office early for the 7am departure to the hot springs. WASCO's heated indoor cabin was perfect for the foggy departure and kept our guests toasty warm as they enjoyed a drive up to Hot Springs Cove. The early departure time is great for getting to hot springs before all of the crowds. Especially during peak season times (which is right now!) the springs can get a bit crowded.

Despite the foggy start it turned out to be a beautiful day! The fog burned off and left clear skies and sunshine behind. Our whale watch got to see lots of gray whales yesterday. And Tofino is getting busier by the day as Canada is tomorrow!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain and Orcas

As forecasted today is a rainy day! West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests really appreciate the Helly Hansen waterproof jackets and heated indoor cabin on days like today. This rain is expected to only last today and we are back to sunshine tomorrow! Oscar, Ellie's golden retriever has been exceptionally lazy on this rainy day and has made very little effort to move or greet most people. Sometimes the rain has that effect!

Luckily for our guests who did get up and out on this rainy day there was plenty to see today. Cow Bay was kindly referred to as "whale soup" with a large pod of gray whales found feeding there. Orcas were also found today. There was a pod of them moving through our waters since early this morning. They were first spotted off of Chesterman Beach right near the Wickanninish. So if you don't mind getting a bit wet today is a great day to go out on WASCO and see some whales and orcas!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The summer sun keeps on coming!

Everyone here at West Coast Aquatic Safaris is loving the summer sun that Tofino has been having. So far it has been a stellar summer weather wise! Tofino is known for the large amounts of rain that it gets. But for the last month it has been nothing but clear skies and sunshine! After a couple rainy days this week the forecast for next week is sun, sun sun!

Our guests are currently enjoying a nice relaxing hot springs soak up at Hot Springs Cove. Perfect weather to enjoy a nice boat ride up and a soak. We also have free parking available on our property so you don't have to worry about it when going out for 6 hours to the hot springs! Our morning whale watch enjoyed watching a pod of gray whales in Cow Bay. Come out on WASCO and enjoy the sunshine from the ocean!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Photo of the Week!

West Coast Aquatic Safaris has a new winner! Daniel Sigg from Switzerland sent us some amazing photos from the bear watch that he was on. We had a hard time picking which one to put as the winner and I'm sure you can see why! WASCO gives bear watchers a great opportunity to get up close with black bears in the inlets. Our walk around deck allows our guests to get as close as 10 to 15 feet! The bears don't mind us stopping by and often just continue looking for crabs under the rocks.

Today we found several black bears on our 9:30 trip. Our 12:30 whale watching trip is currently enjoying the gray whales up in Cow Bay. The sun has decided to come out and we are hoping it will stay sunny for at least another day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well it was long overdue but Tofino finally had a day of lots of rain! It has been coming down steadily since early this morning. West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests were loving our indoor cabin on WASCO today! Our 7:00 am and 9:30 am bear watches appreciated our indoor heated cabin on WASCO. With the heating system we had installed this season our windows stay fog free and passengers are toasty warm!

Our whale watching trips went up to Cow Bay today. There were some bigger swells today so our driver Jeff decided to take a more sheltered route to see the whales giving our customers a more comfortable ride. They watched the gray whales feeding up in Cow Bay and also got to see some sea otters. Our passengers stayed warm and dry until they saw wildlife and then they walked out onto the front bow to get a good look. Despite all the rain our guests were still able to get some great sightings.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Canada Day!

Canada Day is fast approaching! Here in Tofino there will be some great events that Parks and Recreation will be hosting. There is the annual Tuff City skateboarding competition, a bbq, family games and a salmon bbq dinner. West Coast Aquatic Safaris is happy to be donating again to the silent auction. We will be donating four passes for a bear or whale watch. There will be tons to do and it will be a fun day for the entire family! Be sure to book accommodations early!

Today our guests got some great looks at a black bear on the bear watch. He hung out by the shoreline for quite awhile and our guests were quite pleased! Our whale watch spotted gray whales feeding. Sea otters were seen today as well. It was a busy day it it's not over yet! We still have two more trips today. Be sure to book your trip online to reserve a spot and save 10%.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The difference a day makes

A common question that staff get here at West Coast Aquatic Safaris is what the weather forecast is! Of course people want to plan ahead and pick the best day for whale watching/bear watching. If there is one thing that we always emphasize here at the office is that the weather forecast can change every two hours here! The forecast for today was gray and rainy. But to our pleasant surprise the sun came out! And of course it can also work in reverse and start sunny but change to rain. So when booking for a whale or bear watch one thing to consider is that the weather forecast may not be accurate. This is why WASCO is a good option. We have the seating outside for those days when you want the sun and wind in your hair. And on those rainy days our Helly Hansen jackets work well if you would prefer be outside too. Our heated indoor cabin gives our customers a place to warm up and still have a great viewing experience. The best of both worlds for the every changing weather in Tofino!

Friday, June 19, 2009

It really is a dog's life!

Here at West Coast Aquatic Safaris we are a dog friendly environment and staff bring their furry friends to keep them company at work. Customers love the greetings as Juliet is always eager to give kisses and expects that everyone coming in wants to say hello. Henry treats everyone as his long lost best friend and will regularly go into full body wiggles when greeting people coming in to the shop. Oscar, who is visiting for a couple of weeks, is a little more laid back but is always sure to pick up a toy and bring everyone a gift. It's a retriever thing.

So when the customers are not around the two out of three of the dogs take this opportunity to really relax. Oscar routinely heads out to the front porch to people watch and sleep. Juliet is a big fan of her bed and always finds odd ways to settle in. Henry likes to spend his free time running. It's not too often that Henry can sit still with all that puppy energy. So he is often headed to the beach after a short stint of greeting duties at the office. These are happy dogs here! Be sure to come in to our office and say hi!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Maui Jims!

At West Coast Aquatic Safaris we are happy to announce we have new stock of Maui Jim! We received some of the newest styles and some old favorites as well. Maui Jim are polarized sunglasses and offer different lens tints to suit your needs and style. These polarized glasses take away the glare which gives you better depth perception and heightens the colour around you! Come by our office and try some on. You will be amazed at the difference! Keith is pictured here getting ready to drive WASCO wearing his pair of Maui Jim.

We have added some more photos to our gallery. Be sure to go and check them out. We have received some great photos from our customers and staff and want to share them with you. Thank you to Paul and Victor who just sent us the great photo of Keith and some really cute photos of Henry and Juliet!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pod of 4

The orcas have been making some fairly regular appearances around Tofino lately. West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests were very please to see a pod of four orcas yesterday passing through. With orcas being transient in this area seeing these animals every week has been really great. The seating up top on WASCO and the walk around deck provide our guests with some great ways to view these orcas as they pass through.

These orcas have made another appearance today and have been seen swimming through the inlets. They were spotted swimming through Bedwell Sound. Two days in a row is always exciting as often if they are seen one day they will continue on and not be found the next day. There is lots of wildlife to be seen out here on our trips. Our galleries have some great photos from guests and staff of what you can see while out on WASCO. The busy season is quickly approaching so reserve your spot now!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New office guest and Orcas!

Well it was an exciting Sunday for West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests. A pod of 14 orcas were seen from WASCO! This large pod did a lot of showing off as well. There were breaches and tail slapping. They were a very excited group that gave our guests a great show! Our 3:30 trip is enroute now as another pod of 4 orcas have just been seen again. Hopefully they can catch up to the group and see what they are up to.

West Coast Aquatic Safaris also has a new guest for the next 2 weeks. Oscar is visiting from Toronto, Ontario for the next couple of weeks. Oscar is here on vacation and is enjoying the long beaches and great nature that Tofino has to offer. He is sharing the greeting duties with Juliet and Henry in the office. When he isn't at the office he is at the beach chasing sticks! He is really loving it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's official

It's been a full week of humpbacks! Keith was driving WASCO today and he caught up with the humpbacks just out at Sea Otter rock today. They were seen breaching and West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests got a great show! Since opening our doors in March there hasn't been such a long streak of humpback sightings until this week! Just look at our whiteboard that we have outside our office! It gives you all the details of what we have been seeing every day.

We are starting to see things pick up here in Tofino! This weekend is the Edge to Edge Marathon and there are a lot of trained runners here getting ready for the big day tomorrow. West Coast Aquatic Safaris wishes all of those participants in tomorrows run all the best. Hopefully the weather will clear up and it will be a sunny day for everyone involved.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Almost a week of humpbacks

It has been a busy week here at West Coast Aquatic Safaris. There have been lots of whale sightings and we are happy to say that we have seen humpbacks all week long! We have been seeing a mother humpback and her calf several times this week. Today we saw a humpback doing lunges on our 12:30 trip. This is the first time this season that humpbacks have been spotted so regularly and we are happy to have them back!

Straitwatch came to Tofino and Ucluelet area to pay all of the whale watching companies a visit. We were happy to have them! They monitor marine activity and provide guidelines for responsible whale viewing. We greatly appreciate all the information they provided us at West Coast Aquatic Safaris as we also understand it is important not to disturb the whales and to enjoy these amazing animals from an appropriate distance. So come out and enjoy a ride out on WASCO and see all the humpbacks that have been here all week.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Evening cruise!

The days are longer and the weather has been clearing up! This means that evening cruises are now available with West Coast Aquatic Safaris. What better way to spend an evening than out on WASCO watching the sunset and whales. We had our first evening cruise go out today and guests were thrilled with the trip. They watched a humpback whale breach and fluke in the water right before their eyes. As they cruised along the coast line in WASCO the sun began to set and they had the best seats in Tofino with unobstructed views as the sun set in the west.

Our other trips today had great sightings of wildlife. Our morning bear watch got to see several black bears including some cubs! The 12:30 and 3:30 trip enjoyed watching a mother humpback and her calve swimming through. The gray whales were very active with some breaching and tail fluking. Great day out on the water.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Humpback mother and calve

West Coast Aquatic Safaris guests got a great show yesterday and today from a humpback calve. The 3:30 whale watch trip caught up with the mother humpback and calve in Russel Channel yesterday. The calve had a great time showing off for our guests. He did numerous breaches for everyone to see. He also was slapping his tail and fins on the water. Everyone was thrilled with the show!

West Coast Aquatic Safaris has now added on an evening whale watch trip. It's a great way to see the sunset and whales all in one trip! So come out for a trip on WASCO. See Tofino from the ocean and all of the wildlife that is here. See our galleries to see what people have been seeing from WASCO!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another addition

West Coast Aquatic Safaris is happy to welcome Richard to the team! Richard is originally from New Zealand but has been traveling the world. He has made Tofino his destination for the summer. Between teaching surfing and working in the office on Fourth Street he also has enjoyed going out for some whale and bear watches. We are excited to have Richard join our growing team. With Richard now joining us West Coast Aquatic Safaris will be extending our hours as of Sunday June 14th and we will be staying open until 8:30 every night!

On Saturday there were orcas seen just off of Lennard Light and so Ellie and Richard decided to hop on to the 3:30 whale watch trip to see them. They were not disappointed! Jeff who was driving WASCO found a pod of 6 orcas swimming through. There was even a calve orca seen swimming next to it's mother. The 12:30 trip got to see the calve orca make an unsuccessful attempt at eating an unsuspecting bird bobbing in the water. On the same trip they also saw Stellar sea lions, gray whales feeding, bald eagles and the little eaglets popped their heads out too! It was a great trip with lots to see!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fuel is on the rise

As the fuel prices continue to rise West Coast Aquatic Safaris has had to make the difficult decision to add a fuel surcharge. This will be added to the cost of the trip and will vary depending on the price of fuel. Our current rate will be 7% but that will change as the gas prices go up and down. This fuel surcharge will be implemented as of June 7th.

When thinking of the extra cost for fuel please also keep in mind that it's the fuel that keeps WASCO going and WASCO is what makes all of the trips with West Coast Aquatic Safaris so fun!! We had an exciting bear watch this morning. Our guests saw a gray wolf walking along the mudflats. They also got up close to some big black bears. Our whale watch was exciting with orcas being seen again just off Hippie Point. Our guests got some great views of these whales as they swam through the waters. Gray whales were also seen along the way home. Lots of wildlife to see and experience.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cooling down

Well after a week of great weather things had to eventually take a turn. West Coast Aquatic Safaris staff enjoyed standing on our front porch chatting with customers while getting some sun. The sun was out today but cooler winds have come in. It is actually a nice relief from the hot weather we have been experiencing.

Despite the cooler weather WASCO had some great trips today. Our bear watch got nice and close to a couple of bears. The black bears are not bothered by the boats as there are always various boats going through the inlets. So they are happy to keep looking for crabs under the rocks even with an audience. We also had some gray whale spottings and harbor seal sightings as well. One of the gray whales was a familiar face in the water for many of the drivers out there. He has a white face and has been seen in the Tofino waters before. Always good to see some familiar faces!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sea lion on deck?

It was an exciting trip this morning for Keith and West Coast Aquatic Safaris friends. Keith took WASCO out to see the orcas that had been spotted heading towards Tofino from Ucluelet. Keith caught up with the orcas just off of the lighthouse and was not disappointed. There were four in total including one calve.

A sea lion nearby realized that these killer whales were in the waters and decided it was time to get out of the water. It made numerous attempts to hop aboard WASCO in order to stay away from the orcas. Keith and guests were very surprised by this and Keith decided it was time to keep on moving. Having a sea lion on board is very dangerous and he did not look like he was going to give up on trying to get on. So Keith and guests headed back towards Tofino after getting a great show of orcas and a surprise drop in from a sea lion!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Feeling hot hot hot!!

The temperatures have continued to rise here in Tofino. West Coast Aquatic Safaris driver Jeff is enjoying the sunshine today on WASCO out on the bear and whale watches. The high today is 26 degrees Celsius with clear blue skies! With yesterday's warm temperatures Keith returned from his day out on WASCO with very rosy cheeks! One might compare it to a lobster!

On these hot days it is always great to sit up top on WASCO and enjoy the breeze. Our morning bear watch enjoyed sitting outside and got some great views of two different black bears. Our 9:30 whale watch was fortunate to find a humpback whale swimming down at Long Beach. They also got a great view of a minke whale. The first one for us this season! Yesterday our guests got to see porpoises right of the front bow and a tufted puffin flew right by WASCO!

There have been exciting wildlife sightings these last few days. And with the beautiful weather West Coast Aquatic Safaris staff have been enjoying the walk down with all the guests to WASCO!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Orcas in the inlet!

On Sunday evening West Coast Aquatic Safaris staff got a special trip out to the inlets. Orcas had been spotted up Fortune Channel and Keith didn't want to miss an opportunity to see them! So we all hopped onto WASCO for an evening cruise up the inlets. We weren't disappointed! We found a male and female orca swimming through together. Eva got some great photos from the front bow of WASCO.

The orcas were seen swimming a straight line but they suddenly changed direction. We watched as they circled an unseen prey under the water for several minutes. The male orca disappeared for longer periods of time as the female circled closer to the surface of the water. They both disappeared under water for some time for what we can assume was for eating. They then turned and continued on their original route. Everyone at West Coast Aquatic Safaris was thrilled with finding the orcas and having the opportunity to be out on WASCO. Always a great trip!