America · Canada · Travel

Exploring Vancouver Island by sea: kayaking & whale watching

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Whilst in Canada this summer, we took the ferry over to Vancouver Island for a week, staying in the small coastal town of Tofino.  Whilst here we spent the week exploring the various hikes and beaches, taking a day trip to the neighboring village of Ucluelet.  We also got to take our exploring out onto the sea a few times whilst on our trip, and I’m going to share with you two of my favourite excursions!


I think there’s only two responses you can have when you hear the word kayaking.  It’s either “oo, that sounds fun”, or “no thanks, I’ll pass”. If you’re more of the latter then this blog post isn’t going to appeal to you at all, but if the sound of kayaking has you all ready for adventure then stay tuned because I’ve got something you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list.

We partook in a four hour round trip from the docks in Ucluelet out to a small island, where we stopped for a snack break before heading back.  The trip was made a little trickier by the currents from the ocean, which is why our kayaks were equipped with rudders as well as our paddles! We had to steer the rudder with pedals by our feet to help guide us through the waves (and seaweed), which took a little getting used to.  The whole trip was rewarding, but definitely killed my arms off for the rest of the day (a sign of some serious paddling, huh).

It was a great experience and something I’d thoroughly recommend.  We came across starfish, jellyfish, crabs and bald eagles, so it truly was rewarding!  You can check out the website of the company, PaddleWest Kayaking, here. 

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My next sea adventure was whale watching back in Tofino.  The last time I went whale watching was in Iceland where, apart from some dolphins, our trip ended up lacking in the whale department.  So, although excited, I was a little skeptical as to what we would actually see on our trip. Regardless, I donned some very sexy gear (picture a bright red all-in-one waterproof suit .. I’ll spare the pictures) and waddled aboard.

We’d only been on the boat for around twenty minutes before we had our first sighting; a sea otter!  It was floating on its back, paws on its stomach trying to crack open an oyster. I’d never seen a sea otter before so it was great to watch – I was amazed at how big they were.  We even spotted an eagle’s nest on one of the small islands.

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And FINALLY, whales (yes, you read that right, whales as in plural).  Our guide had been given the heads up by another tour group that there was a group of female killer whales with their young nearby and we were lucky enough to catch them.  And they were bloody brilliant! It was great to watch them rise in and out of the water (my photos really do not do it justice). I was ecstatic to finally be seeing a whale, a major bucket list moment and something I definitely will not be forgetting anytime soon!

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Have you ever been whale watching?  If so, where?  And did you see any whales?

Thanks for reading!!

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