What an amazing Tofino bear watching family adventure! Cruising through the inlets of Clayoquot Sound watching black bears come out of the forest for breakfast.
We once had a black bear walk right by our house… Gretta thought it was a black dog so ignored the kids’ excitement.
Good thing they didn’t try and pet it before Gretta eventually came to investigate their persistent yelling of “BEAR!” That was an up and close wildlife experience for sure. Now get ready for another one. This time from the safety of a boat, thankfully.
I love all the wildlife on Vancouver Island. I think us Islanders often take for granted what’s in our own backyard. Literally.
Tofino bear watching was one of the activities that made our family vacation so memorable.
While on our trip with West Coast Aquatic Safaris we met people from Holland, Scotland and New Zealand to name a few. It always amazes me how many people we meet from all over the world who vacation on Vancouver Island. Love the accents during the summer time travel season especially.
Our boat Captain even double checked we all spoke English at the beginning of the trip.
It was a gorgeous morning in Tofino; some say it doesn’t get any better than what we had. Blue sky, a high of +24 degrees celsius (75 F), and not a breeze in the air. And this was the month of May!
We started our tour at 7am so as to catch the low tide. During low tide the black bears like to make their way out of the forest and down to the ocean to eat little sea creatures they find under rocks and attached to drift wood on the beach.
Even though we are not accustomed to starting our vacation day at 7am, this trip was well worth it.
We met Captain Todd after checking in at the West Coast Aquatic Safaris welcome centre. To be honest, I really didn’t give much thought to who our captain was going to be, but wow did we ever get a good one.
I quickly found out that having a great captain will make or break your trip. Captain Todd was welcoming the whole time to both Gretta and I, and especially our kids.
He had lots of interesting things to share with us to add to our Tofino bear watching trip, yet his timing on being quiet during special times, was perfect. Our kids just loved Captain Todd, maybe even more than seeing the bears.
Now, when you think about going bear watching… what pops into your mind? What kind of question is that? Bears of course! Well, I found out that bears were a big part of our trip, but that was only half of what made our trip so enjoyable.
The boat ride! Oh the boat ride… We would have done that trip just to go out and enjoy seeing the gorgeous inlets of Tofino.
The mountain peaks, the West Coast salmon farms, the pristine and secluded bays, it was better than any HD experience. Everything was right there all around us, we were immersed in West Coast adventure. The sunshine, the outdoor smells, the glassy ocean water, the starfish and other sea creatures we bumped into along the way. It was just absolutely incredible and we hadn’t even seen bears yet.
Here is a little piece of advice… don’t be so anxious and eager for your Tofino bear watching adventure that you miss everything else on your trip. That would be a shame because there is so much more.
So just sit back, relax and let it all come to you naturally. Especially if you have kids with you, have some special moments all together and try for 1-1 as well. They won’t forget it and neither will you.
There he is! Off in the distance!
Captain Todd took us in nice and close, way closer than I ever imagined he would. I started taking pictures of the black bear off in the distance thinking the bear would run off, but it never did.
The bear just did his thing, and we did ours.
Out Tofino bear watching trip was unforgettable… Gretta and the kids were right beside me and we just took it all in together.
Captain Todd told us some pretty cool bear facts while letting the boat drift quietly along as we all watched in awe. As I got my fill of bear watching, I thankfully looked at my family and did some watching of them as well.
The expressions on their faces were priceless. If I could do it all over again right now, I would in heartbeat.
What an adventure!
Here’s why we recommend West Coast Aquatic Safaris to you as our preferred Tofino wildlife tour company for bear watching:
You Can Move Around On The Boat Freely
Inside, outside, back, side, front, and finally on-top. This made it very comfortable for all of us! If the kids couldn’t have moved around that boat for 3 hours, yikes! Many tour companies in Tofino use zodiacs. That’s a completely different experience, one where you are assigned to a seat.
There Was A Bathroom On-board
I was actually pleasantly surprised there was one. In all the excitement, I was that guy who forgot to go before he left. Boy that could have gotten a little awkward for everyone. I don’t know what I was thinking the kids would do… lean overboard??
Safety Is The #1 Priority
West Coast Aquatic Safaris knows safety matters more than anything else. They are Transport Canada Certified with professional staff at the front desk and on the boat. With our little kids on-board, our most precious treasures in the whole world ,we needed a tour company we could trust. We felt completely at peace and safe the whole time.
Aquatic Safaris puts a big focus on their tour guides and boat captains, and it shows. Knowledgable, experienced, personable and friendly with adults and kids.
A short video clip on West Coast Aquatic Safaris from their website:
While our trip with West Coast Aquatic Safaris was complimentary, our thoughts, opinions, and findings are our own as always.