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 tremendous 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 8 to 88.
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. 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.
No not really, but you may want to bring some insect repellant with you just in case. Mosquitoes breed in fresh water and since there is little or no fresh water at the campsites, the mosquitoes are at a minimum.
Unless you are booking one of our lodge-based tours, we sleep in tents, which are roomy and water repellent. 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 travelling alone, we will give you 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 and/or shuttle boat.
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.
Gourmet, sustainably-sourced food is served on your tour. The menu and ingredients have been meticulously prepared directly from our Chef's kitchen. We hope you love it as much as we do!
How much kayaking experience is required to join one of your trips?
You do not need to have kayaking experience. We paddle 2 1/2 hours on harbour tours, and 4-6 hours per day on day trips and multi-day tours.
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.
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 celsius, January is on average the coolest month with a mean temp. of 4.5 degrees celsius. 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 below.Click here for up to date and historical weather data.
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 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.
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 beachcombing. The pace of the tour and the route that we take 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, 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.
I have food allergies/food intolerances/am vegetarian. Can you cater to me?
Our chef custom makes all the food for the trips, everything is made from scratch. We also carry changes of clothing with us, so we can find a safe place to stop where you can change into some warm dry clothes if needed.
If you have an allergy or food intolerance we will customize the food for you. Please share with us the details about your requirements, we want you to have a carefree experience and let us worry about the details of getting your meals right. When you reserve you may choose to purchase the standard food sensitivities menu or the extreme sensitivities menu.
We are committed to providing healthy & delicious food for you, and we understand its importance to your overall experience.
What happens if my kayak tips over?
In the rare event of a capsize, all of our guides are well practiced in rescue procedures to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. We will discuss these procedures 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 we can find a safe place to stop where you can change into some warm dry clothes if needed.
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 size are your groups?
All our tours need a minimum of four guests to run. From here we keep the group sizes as small as possible for the best experience & safety, with a maximum of 10 guests with 2 guides.
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. If this is the case, guests will have to use the intertidal zone, away from other campers, and any known shellfish harvesting areas. This is an area where the tide naturally flushes for us.
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.
What happens if there is bad weather?
We are situated on the wild west coast, where the weather and ocean conditions can change very quickly. We will always be keeping a close eye on the weather and will not expose you to undue risk. Within this, however, there are many different comfort levels, and that is ok! If you are concerned about the weather, give us a call and we will discuss the options.
If you are on a multiday 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.
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.
Should I tip the guides and how much?
It is customary for guests to tip their guides, but there is no obligation. There guides work hard, and take pride in giving you the best tour they can.Tips are typically given to the guides at the end of the trip and range from 10-15% of the cost of the trip.
Where do I need to get to for the start of the trip?
Our trips depart from 1167 Helen Road in Ucluelet.
For day trips: you are welcome to stop by our office to see where we are located, and to go over any last minute details. Otherwise, we will see you on the morning of your tour at the time we have given you.
For multiday trips: we ask that you meet us here the day before your multiday trip departs so that we can get acquainted, complete 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 office hours of 7am - 7pm.
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.
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: orcas, humpbacks, grey whales, black bears, deer, sea lions, seals, sea and shorebirds, otters, wolves, bald eagles, and a huge variety of intertidal life - from sea start to anemones, moon snails to sea cucumbers.
*Please note, of course we have no control over which wildlife comes out to play on any given day. Our guides will do their best to take you past spots where sightings are common.
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 months. Orcas aren’t as frequent visitors to these waters but are generally spotted a few times a year, even in Ucluelet harbour.
What if I am coming by myself?
No problem! We are happy to take one-person bookings on our existing tours. We have day trips departing every day in the summer, and multiday trips departing every Monday and Friday.
You will be welcome join one of our groups. We have a 4-person minimum and the 10-person maximum for most of our tours.
What are the other guests like?
Our pre-trip information and orientation all play a big role in ensuring that all our guests have a very good idea of what to expect on their tour. We ask that our guests come with a spirit of adventure and friendship. Our guides are fun, friendly people, and we have procedures in place to bring the group together.
We have new, top-of-the-line, double and single kayaks from Nimbus and Seaward. These are fibreglass sea kayaks with rudders, made locally on Quadra Island and Vancouver Island. We have several sizes and lengths of kayak within this, and we will assign yours based on your height and weight, then adjust your foot pedals and seat to ensure the best possible fit.
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 with us, but you should be comfortable in and around water. You will be wearing a PFD or lifejacket at all times while on the water in your kayak for your safety.
Some of the places we visit are perfect for a refreshing dip. If this is something you are comfortable with, we highly recommend bringing your bathing suit along!
What if I am too slow or fast for the group?
Many guests are concerned about the pace of their tour. Some are concerned that the group will be too slow, and others, that the group will be too fast. We will keep the group together. We may have guests take turns in the double and single kayaks, as it is helpful to have someone who is tired paddle with someone stronger in a double. This helps the group stay together, and to travel at a better pace.
Please rest assured that our guides are skilled in group management, and very knowledgeable about the areas we paddle in. So we invite you to relax and take it all in, while they guide you through one of the most beautiful places on earth.