What should I Wear?

  • It is quite cool on the open water, even in the warm summer months. Please dress in warm attire – long pants, long sleeves & closed toed shoes with socks (NO FLIP FLOPS OR SANDALS PLEASE).
  • Warm hats and gloves are recommended, even on a summer day. If you forget to bring these, don’t worry as we have gear we can provide for you. Sunglasses are also recommended!

What should I bring with me?

  • Bring your cameras/cell phones. Most days they will be safe from sea spray, but sometimes waves can unexpectedly soak the boat. If you have weather sensitive gear, it is recommended to also bring a dry bag. *We have some dry bags we can provide for you to borrow for the tour.
  • Binoculars can also come in handy, but they are not a necessity.
  • Feel free to also bring along a bag with a light snack and/or bottled beverage. Just remember not to drink too much, as there are no toilets on board our small vessels & tours are approximately 3 hours.

What kind of personal safety equipment is provided?

  • All of our passengers must wear Transport Canada approved floatation gear while aboard our vessels. For passengers 1.5m/4’9″ & taller, we will provide a Mustang Floatation Suit. This is equivalent to a one piece snow suit with a built in PFD. For our smaller passengers, we will provide warm snow gear (pants & jackets) which will be combined with a Transport Canada Approved PFD.

Is this tour suitable for children?

  • The short answer to this question is, yes! (*Please see below for conditions).
  • Adventures By HIP is a family friendly tour operator. Children 5+ are welcome aboard our Ocean Wildlife Tours. Due to the style of vessels we operate – we ask that parents please judge if their child will be capable of being seated through a 3 hour boat ride without causing a disturbance, that other guests may not appreciate. *Same rules apply to unruly Adults!*
  • If you are traveling with small child 4 & under, you have the option of joining us for a Private Tour. Please contact us for details/questions.

Is there a whale guarantee?

  • No silly! They’re wild animals!

What is the best time of year to see whales?

  • Humpback Whales begin to return in numbers in late June through mid July. The prime months for whale sightings around Sooke are August – November. We will see some Humpback Whales remain right into January.
  • Orca sightings are possible all year round. The prime months for Orca sightings are July – December, peaking from August through September.

What type of vessels do we use?

  • We currently operate 3 small open deck vessels, two RHIBs (Zodiac style boats) and one power Catamaran. Please see our ‘Meet the Fleet’ page for photos of each vessel.

Is there any wildlife to see in the Winter?

  • Here on Vancouver Island we often have very mild winters, making it possible to comfortably get out on an open boat ride. When the weather permits, winter tours can be our favourite!
  • Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is thriving with life in the winter months. There, and along the way we may encounter: Elephant Seals (pups typically in January); Harbour Porpoises; Steller/California Sea Lions; ‘Ollie’ our lone resident Sea Otter; Harbour Seals; Cormorants; Bald Eagles; and a variety of other avian species. Orca sightings will be less frequent, but still possible in the late winter months.