Most Inspirational Moment
So many to choose from. A humpback whale breaching on the way back from seeing 18 bears racing through the emerald green waters of the Orford river catching salmon, to a grey whale who came within 5 metres of the zodiac (too close for some :-) or the Black Bears turning over rocks on the shoreline and a cub up the tree, or the first pod of Orcas, or the Deer swimming between Islands in fairly rough seas, or the fish and chips at Dicks fish and chips in Campbell river, or the Sea Otters, or the Salmon BBQ on the beach, with whales just off the coast, or the laughs with the group, or the rapids and whirlpools in the Bute Inlet.... or many many more
Thoughts on Group Leader
Top Class. Mac was chilled out, good fun and found the right balance on food for the group.. Granted, it’s a limited number I’ve experienced, but he’s presently the best Salmon Barbeque Chef in Canada. He was also on the ball in organising extra trips and experiences, and ensuring you could fit as much in as you wanted to do.
Advice for Potential Travellers
There is lots packed in at times, BUT there’s also a fair amount of free time. I was there for the wildlife, so managed to get out on 2 extra whale watching trips in Tofino, 1 long trip in Campbell River and even 1 in Victoria (although this was much more commercial and touristy than Tofino or Campbell River). Be decisive though, especially in Tofino. The weather changes it’s mind more often than you could imagine, if there’s a nice gap in the weather get out and do something - anything, you will have plenty of options, be it Whale Watching, Surfing, Kayaking, Sea Plane Flight, Hot Springs or anything else.
In Campbell river the extra Whale Watching Tour is worth doing - it was the first time we saw Orcas, and we got to see lots of the different currents and inlets.
Victoria is a lovely place, the nicest city - well worth getting up early to maximise time there.
I went to take photographs, and a few tips in that space 1) The bears at Orford River can be a good way away. If you’re taking photos, you’re likely to need for some shots at least 600mm reach (I took 300mm with 2* extender). Although, we also had plenty of opportunities to photograph with a 70-200mm. When we went, the light was very bright, so ensure you take lens hoods and any filters you want. For those not photographing, good binoculars are a must. For those taking camera gear a good dry bag (at least 30 litres) is very useful for out on the zodiacs, as are a couple of towels.
We had a group of 8, which was a very nice number for the bus. It allowed space for bags and to spread out a bit. With more people in, it could have got a bit tight.
Hotels in Vancouver, Nanaimo, and Tofino are functional, but all had dark rooms, good beds and powerful showers - so suited my needs perfectly. Painters Lodge / April Point are more luxurious and very nice.
Book the trip, it’s amazing. So much to see, so much wildlife, so much first nations history and influence - just another great exodus trip.