Frequently asked questions

FAQs - Frequently asked questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions about our kayak-trips in Clayoquot Sound.

If you feel something is missing here, please let us know info@blackbearkayak.com

no kayaking experience requiredNo experience is required for our kayak tours! Our adventures are for everyone who is 10 years and older.

All of our trips will begin with a training session that will give you all necessary skills and information that you will require to participate safely in our adventures.

Well, wildlife is fairly unreliable whenever we try to come up with appointments. However, Vancouver Island and Clayoquot Sound have a lot to offer and encounters with some of the most exciting mammals and marine life are very common on our kayak tours.

vancouver island kayaking adventures - sealsWithout trying to come up with a complete summary of species, encounters with our favourites, the always curious Harbour Seal are almost hard to prevent.
Especially over spring and summer we get lots of Bald Eagles while they tend to move to the rivers in fall, when the Salmon season starts! Besides these majestic birds we are welcoming more than 200 000 shorebirds every season. Among them are Cormorants, Pidgin Guillemot, lazy Herons, hovering Kingfishers, Sandpipers and many more amazing birds.

Beginning October to April, when Tofino gets a bit quieter, our California Sea Lions which usually hang out on the offshore rocks come closer to Tofino again. During these months you might even meet them while taking a sunbath on our dock but generally sightings can happen all year over...and they are always very cool!

river otters in TofinoThe same applies to our River Otters who love the fishery leftovers that get thrown back in the water. This way you might see them cuddling on the docks or playing on the shores of the various islands we explore on our kayaking adventures.

Sometimes we see Porpoises, our 'Westcoast Dolphins' or very rarely even some Orcas (3 times in 2010) might get lost inside the sound and provide us with unforgettable moments.

On top of that you see various types of Sea Stars, cold water Corals, Sponges, Anemones, Kelp-, Rock- and Dungeness Crab ...etc.

Check out our wildlife photo gallery for more information

We understand that especially for outdoor enthusiasts like us sometimes things come up and plans need to be changed or cancelled. If you need to cancel your trip-reservation with us, we require that you do so by email to avoid confusion.

After receiving your mailed cancellation request, we will refund your payment according to the following schedule:
* less than 20 days before your tour you will receive a full refund minus a 10% handling fee.
* less than 10 days prior to your tour you will receive a 50% refund.
* If you cancel less than 48 hours before the trip or are a no-show, there is no refund.

We reserve the right to cancel kayak trips due to inclement weather or other decisions. If we have to cancel you will receive a full refund! Generally we will make the decision to cancel a tour due to weather at our meeting point and at the scheduled time of departure.

If the weather is "questionable" we ask that you at least to show up at the booking office at the scheduled time, otherwise no refund will be issued.

Our weather in the Pacific Northwest is always good for surprises but generally pleasant from May through until the end of September.

The best defence against poor weather is excellent preparation. This refers to daily as well as to multiday trips. Therefore make sure to carry a light rain jacket and multiple layers of synthetic clothing in case of cold weather - also you can keep everything in your kayak and only put it on when necessary.

Once you register for one of our multi-day adventures, you'll be forwarded a Trip Preparation package, which will tell you what you need to prepare for your kayak trip.

If the weather looks threatening to the point where it could have an impact on safety, we will try to wait it out. The guide might decide to cancel the trip, in which case of course a full refund is issued.

It depends a bit but usually we operate from April to October..BUT that is only because nobody wants to go kayaking with us over the winter! ;-)

kayaking quipmentWe provide all kayaking and camping related equipment. Included as well are all cooking equipment, meals and snacks as stated on the itinerary for your trip.

The main things you need to bring are clothing, some personal items and a sleeping bag.

You will appreciate our first class gear: new Delta single and double kayaks, carbon shaft paddles, highly adjustable pfd's, neoprene spray-decks and dry bags.

For our daily kayak trips, you should pack the following items:

- some liwhat you should bring on our daily kayak adventuresght (old) shoes that can get wet
- sunglasses
- sunscreen
- maybe a camera...though consider, we'll be on the water!
- a hat or cap
- a small bottle of water
- a light rain jacket (...just in case)

For our multiday-trips you will receive a pre-trip information package, detailing all items and equipment you'll need for your kayak adventure on Vancouver Island.

With Black Bear Kayaking we had very few prior incidents so far *knock on wood*. However, the possibility always exists.

All guides at Black Bear Kayaking are trained and prepared to handle such unfortunate situations and do their best to ensure a pleasureful and safe kayaking trip.


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