- What should I wear?
- Are there any age requirements?
- Are there any bugs?
- Where do we sleep?
- Can I bring my own kayak?
- When is the best time of year to come?
- What will we eat?
- How much kayaking experience is required to join one of your trips?
- Do I need to be physically fit to join one of your trips?
- What will the weather be like?
- How much paddling will we do?
- What do you provide?
- What shall I bring?
- I have food allergies/food intolerances/am vegetarian. Can you cater to me?
- What size are your groups?
- Will I capsize?
- What happens if my kayak tips over?
- Where do we wash?
- Are there toilets?
- Should I tip the guides and how much?
- What happens if there is bad weather?
- What is your emergency plan?
- Where do I need to get to for the start of the trip?
- What wildlife might I see?
- What if I am coming by myself?
- What are the other guests like?
- What kayak will I have?
- What are the chances of seeing whales?
- Do I have to be able to swim?
- What if I am too slow or fast for the group?
What should I wear?
In all cases quick dry synthetic clothing and lots of layering options are great for kayaking. Please avoid cotton as it takes a very long time to dry and offers very little insulation when wet. On a hot sunny day it is appropriate to wear quick dry shorts and a t-shirt. A swim suit could be worn underneath. Sturdy sandals, sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. On a cooler day throw on another layer such as a mid-weight synthetic top and quick dry breathable pants, perhaps also a wool or fleece hat and lightweight gloves. Rubber boots or neoprene booties are good choices for your feet. Have a waterproof windbreaker handy for rain showers. On a rainy day paddling can be tremedous fun as long as you are dressed for it. A brimmed rain hat, waterproof jacket, light rain pants, fleece and rubber boots would be ideal. We provide a detailed packing list for your tour. You can also visit your local outdoor store for advice on good quality outdoor and paddling clothing.
Are there any age requirements?
We have had paddlers of all ages on our tours, from 7 to 87.
If you are a family with small children under the age of 12, and a group of 4 or more (i.e. 2 adults and 2 children), then we are able to give you a private family tour at no extra charge. Guests under the age of 19 need to have the waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
If you are an adult and you do not want to be on a tour with small children then you will appreciate our policy of not having children under 12 on our adult tours.
As a general rule we do not have any age restrictions and we have found that it is not always possible to determine a persons paddling ability by their age. In all cases we will want to discuss your children and families requirements before booking.
For the more 'mature' paddlers, or for anyone concerned about their paddling ability, please give us a call so that we can discuss tour dynamics with you.
Are there any bugs?
No not really, but you may want to bring some insect repellant with you just incase. Mosquitoes breed in fresh water and since there is little or no fresh water at the campsites, the mosquitoes are at a minimum. Sometimes tourists with delicate white skin will be bitten long before the guides will. Sorry, that is our little joke.
Where do we sleep?
We sleep in tents, they are roomy and water repellant. We usually set them up in the forest but some people like to have their tents on the beach. Our sea kayaking tours are a wilderness experience and so involve camping with minimal facilities as part of the adventure. Tenting is generally based on double occupancy, however if you are traveling alone we do our best to provide you with your own tent. We will do our best to make you comfortable and feel at home on your tour.
Can I bring my own kayak?
Yes of course. This must be a ocean kayak. We will want to give it an inspection and we do reserve the right to refuse a kayak that we feel is not up to the task or level of safety required. We would be happy to discuss this with you. We would need to have your kayak delivered to us the day before your trip departs so that it can be loaded onto our trailer.
When is the best time of year to come?
We start doing our full schedule of kayak tours April 1st and we operate until October 1st. In the Spring the Gray Whales begin their migration north, and we usually see them throughout the season. The wildlife is abundant on the west coast. The black bears will start to appear in late May. All through the summer months there is a variety of wildlife to see on the trips, check our wildlife photo gallery.
In regards to the weather; this is a temperate rainforest, we have a mild wet winter and so can go kayaking 12 months of the year depending on weather conditons. Spring tours can be warm and sunny during the day, offering great paddling but with a chance of rain. The weather improves and is more reliable as we get closer to July and August, these are our warmest months. They are also the busy months with groups taking advantage of the warm weather and school vacations.
September is still a great time to visit because of the reduced number of visitors and our long summer.
What will we eat?
One of the things that sets us apart from other kayak companies is the high quality of food that we serve on our tours. We serve locally caught seafood, homemade cakes and cookies, fresh salads and Tracys fantastic recipes for wholesome delicious salad dressings and sauces, all prepared in the Majestic B&B kitchen.
When you register we will send you our trip menu, look it over and then let us know if you have any food concerns or allergies. We would rather make the adjustment while packing up at home base than to have you going without food on the trip.
Tracy likes to "love people up" with food.
How much kayaking experience is required to join one of your trips?
You do not need to have kayaking experience. We paddle 4 - 6 hours per day with rest stops.
We try to organize trips to satisfy both active adventurers and those looking for a more relaxing vacation. We hope you’ll agree we’ve found the right balance.
Tours are suitable for fit people and lessons are included. We have some tours that are for experienced paddlers and we can discuss their suitability with you.
Do I need to be physically fit to join one of your trips?
Yes, physical fitness and core strength is essential for you to enjoy the tour. On our shortest trip of 3 hours, you would need to be capable of a few hours of moderate exercise.
On the day trips and multi day trips we paddle a minimum of 4 - 6 hours per day with rest stops.
If you have any health problems, please let us know when you are making your reservation so that we will be able to accommodate your needs and abilities.
What will the weather be like?
The weather on the West Coast of Vancouver Island South is generally pleasant from April through to the end of September. This is a temperate rainforest environment. We suggest our guests be prepared for any type of weather by bringing the all the recommended clothing on your packing list. August is on average the warmest month with a mean temp. of 14.8 degrees celcius, January is on average the coolest month with a mean temp. of 4.5 degrees celcius. The maximum average precipitation occurs in February with an average rainfall of 184 mm. July has the most hours of sunshine with 227.30 hours. We can get some fog in the warmer summer months. More information on weather can be found here.
How much paddling will we do?
On our multiday trips we will typically do 4-6 hours of kayaking each day with rest stops. We have plenty of snack breaks, bathroom breaks and photo opportunities. Typically we paddle for 2-3 hours before lunch and 2-3 hours after lunch. We may also spend some time doing some hiking and beach combing. The pace of the tour depends on the guests, the sea conditions and the weather.
After breakfast we try to be on the water by 9:30 am. We will visit some of the many islands and beaches, get out for a look around, do some hiking, have some snacks etc, then paddle on exploring until we stop for lunch.
After lunch more exploring either by kayak or on foot or both, it depends on what the group wants and the sea conditions. Usually you would be back at camp around 5:00pm for a little happy hour snack before the guides start making dinner.
What do you provide?
Please see our ‘What We Provide’ list
What shall I bring?
Please see our ‘What to Bring’ list
I have food allergies/food intolerances/am vegetarian. Can you cater to me?
We are happy to accommodate any food requirements of our guests. Be sure to let us know what you require when booking. We are experienced in adjusting and specializing our menus to accommodate your needs. We can prepare an equally delicious vegetarian or allergen free main course. We have suprised our guests with the thoughtful detail that we put into accommodating their needs.
What size are your groups?
We keep the group size as small as possible. On our multiday trips the maximum group size is 10 guests plus 2 guides. We are also able to offer custom private tours if you prefer, you must have at least 4 guests to have a private tour.
Will I capsize?
The likelihood of a capsize is minimal. The kayaks we use on our tours are very stable and designed for your comfort. We ask for your height and weight to make sure that we give you a kayak that fits you. Before we start our trip we go over paddling technique and safety procedures, which includes what to do in the event of a capsize. If for some reason your kayak flips over, our experienced guides will help you get back in your boat quickly and efficiently.
Be sure to listen to your guide as they give you lessons and directions, this will ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for you.
What happens if my kayak tips over?
In the rare event of a capsize, all of our guides are well practiced in rescue proceedures to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. We will discuss these proceedures with you during our pre-trip talk.
Being dressed properly in quick-dry clothing will ensure that you will be comfortable to continue paddling. We also carry changes of clothing with us, so can find a safe place to stop where you can change into some warm dry clothes if needed.
Where do we wash?
We supply a handwashing station with organic biodegradable enviromentally friendly soap and a towel.
For those wanting to wash up, we suggest a ‘tent bath’ with handi wipes or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean.
Please note that regular soaps, body washes and shampoos cannot be used as they may damage sensitive marine life. Regular shampoo when used in salt water sticks to your hair and you cannot rinse it off. For the trip you would be better off without perfumes and soaps. Of course everyone will like you more if you use deodorant.
Are there toilets?
In the Broken Group Islands we use the National Park campsites which have solar composting toilets.
Some areas that we travel in do not have composting toilets available, we use established pit toilets where they exist. If these are not available, then guests would use the intertidal zone in an area where the tide naturally flushes, away from other campers, and any known shellfish harvesting areas.
We put used toilet paper into small zip lock bags that we carry with us, so that we can pack out it out together with any used feminine hygiene products. Your guides will explain all of the minimum impact procedures thoroughly to you as part of your trip orientation.
Should I tip the guides and how much?
It is customary for the guests to tip the guides, but there is no obligation. The guides work hard, take pride in giving you the best tour that they can and do look forward to the tips. Tips are typically given to the guides at the end of the trip and range from 10-15% of the cost of the trip.
What happens if there is bad weather?
If you are coming for a half day or full day trip and the weather gets bad then we can reschedule. Please let us know if you are concerned about the weather - call us the day before and discuss the options. We cannot read your mind and everyone is different - we have some guests that will go kayaking in any kind of weather and they are disappointed if we cancel a trip due to hard rain and strong winds. We have others who will not go kayaking if there is a little bit of mist. Let us know what you want to do.
If you are on a multi day trip, we can adjust our route to paddle in sheltered areas. Paddling in the rain can be a wonderful experience when dressed correctly. If we encounter a serious rainstorm or very strong winds and it is unsuitable to be on the water, we will go hiking and tidepooling, stay in camp and drink warm beverages, play cards, read and chat around a campfire. The guides will make sure that everyone is comfortable.
What is your emergency plan?
Our emergency plan is RISK MANAGEMENT. We are serious about what we do and with careful planning and communication with our guests we can avoid the little problems. Little problems are usually the start of the big problems.
We have several plans depending on the type of emergency, with protocols for each. Our certified guides are all trained to deal with emergencies, they all have wilderness first aid and VHF radio training. Our guides carry extensive first aid kits, cell phones and VHF radios, together with all the relevant emergency numbers such as Canadian Coast Guard and the Pacific Rim National Park wardens and Search and Rescue.
Majestic Ocean kayaking has a motor boat immediately available if required for any reason.
Where do I need to get to for the start of the trip?
Our trips depart from 1167 Helen Road in Ucluelet.
We ask you to meet us here the day before your multi day trip departs so that we can get acquainted, finish up any outstanding paperwork, go over the departure details, hand out the dry bags and try on the paddling gear.
Please let us know your estimated time of arrival, especially if you are delayed and cannot arrive during our regular office hours of 7am - 7pm.
If you are signed up for a day trip you are welcome to stop by our office to see where we are located and check on any last minute details, otherwise see you in the morning at the time we have given you.
What wildlife might I see?
The West Coast of Vancouver Island is home to some incredibly abundant and diverse wildlife populations. On our trips we hope to see humpback and gray whales, black bears, deer, sea lions, seals, sea and shorebirds, otters, wolves, bald eagles and a huge variety of intertidal life from sea stars to anemones, moon snails to sea cucumbers.
What if I am coming by myself?
No problem! We are happy to take one person bookings onto our existing tours. We have a tour departing every day for the day trips and every Friday and Saturday for the multiday trips.
What are the other guests like?
Our pretrip information and orientation plays a big role ensuring that all guests have a very good idea of what to expect on their tour. We ask guests to come with a spirit of adventure and friendship. Our guides are fun and friendly people and have procedures in place to bring the group together.
What kayak will I have?
We have double and single kayaks from Current Designs, Nimbus, Necky and Seaward. We will ask for your height and weight when you book your tour to allow us to select a kayak most appropriate to your size. We will then adjust the foot pedals and seat to ensure a good fit for you. A full group of 8 guests would have 4 singles and 2 doubles so that everyone can take turns to share the different kayaks.
What are the chances of seeing whales?
We are lucky to have orcas, gray and humpback whales in the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island. In March every year 16,000 to 26,000 grey whales pass through on their northbound migration from the Baja Peninsula to Alaska’s Bering Strait and beyond. Humpback whales migrate north from the waters off Mexico and Hawaii, to the north Pacific to feed in the summer month. Orcas aren’t as frequent visitors to these waters but are generally spotted a few times a year, even in Ucluelet harbour.
Do I have to be able to swim?
No, you do not need to be a good swimmer to come on one of our trips but you should be comfortable in and around water. You will be wearing a pdf or lifejacket at all times while on the water in your kayak. Some of the places we visit are great for taking a refreshing dip so bring your swimsuit.
What if I am too slow or fast for the group?
Many guests are concerned about the pace of the tour. Some people are concerned that the group will be too slow and others that the group will be too fast. We keep the group together, taking turns in the single and double kayaks. If someone is tired that can take a turn in the double with someone stronger. This also helps the group stay together and travel faster.