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About West Coast Expeditions
~ CONNECT ~ EXPERIENCE ~ REFRESH ~ We loved welcoming guests again in July and August 2021 - our 50th season!! Through COVID-19 we continue to carefully monitor and implement best practices for tours in our remote wilderness location. Join us to savour the best of base camp sea kayaking, professionally guided kayak expeditions and family kayaking tours. Ocean kayak with sea otters while eagles soar overhead. Participate in local Indigenous cultural interactions. Located in Kyuquot, on the remote northwest coast of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Convenient transportation included from Courtenay, Comox, and Campbell River. We have been established leaders in marine education since 1972, and focused on doing this through sea kayaking tours since 1990. Recognized by Destination Canada and Destination BC as offering a Canadian Signature Experience, and the first sea kayak tour company in Canada to be achieve the Green (Sustainable) Tourism Gold Award.
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Jen T wrote a review Oct. 2021
1 contribution
What a wonderful immersive experience into the wonders of the west coast. We love visiting Spring Island and enjoy the camaraderie and unique experience of camp life. Nothing beats the spectacular scenario - and Dave, Caroline, Morgan and team do a great job of sharing, teaching, and broadening our understanding and connection with the area. When you visit such a remote location, it’s hard to hide how complicated the simple things might be(and how much luxury we all live in day to day) - from how to get there to what to eat to how to manage things like water and waste. We learn something with each visit about how the team manages these challenges. This trip, we came at a time when water was a challenge and it was eye-opening to see the rain barrels being put out when the weather finally shifted and we were tent bound for an afternoon/evening. The simplicity of camp life creates opportunities to see nature’s rhythms. There is nothing like waking up to the sound of the ocean and the tents keep everything dry(well, as dry as possible on the west coast where everything ends up a little damp, even on the best of days) and ready for our daily paddles. Our guides were friendly, helpful and full of knowledge - checking in, making sure we were feeling comfortable, planning trips that were suited to our ability and providing options and choices about the kind of kayaking experience we were looking for. Having an appetizer of locally picked chicken of the woods mushrooms was a delightful bonus. Jeannie was fantastic as our chef - creating simple, wholesome fare that had to appeal to a variety of tastes and dietary needs. Fresh bread and great salads. We also appreciated how nothing goes to waste. And, of course, the salmon dinner with homemade bannock is such a sweet addition. We loved having a visit with friends from Kyuquot who generously share their experiences and even some music. This new addition of the music and learning capped an already wonderful visit. If you are thinking of an adventure vacation - we’d highly recommend West Coast Expeditions. The first time we visited our son was five, and we’ve come back several times since - always enjoying a unique, fun, community-filled, educational experience that, in our opinion, is tremendous value for money.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from PinFish3, Owner at West Coast Expeditions
Responded 4 weeks ago
We greatly appreciate you sharing these many insights gained from multiple trips with us! Yes, there are always new layers to each experience, including your observations about some of what goes on behind-the-scenes in our remote off-grid wilderness location. We're happy that our recipe of activities, accommodations, meals, indigenous cultural interactions and staff works so well for your family, that you've become part of our WCE family! Thank you for taking the time to provide such a delightful detailed summary - I can imagine it being very useful for others who may be considering an experience with us: this helps to make it a good fit for everyone.
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L E wrote a review Oct. 2021
1 contribution
This is a beautiful setting with engaged and knowledge guides. Some of the highlights were an early morning (5 a.m.) paddle to watch the sunrise from our boat, a 2 hour paddle with the fog rolling around us. An exceptional highlight was the visit by members the local First Nations who were longtime friends and who's owners into their family. We would return in a heartbeat. Every day on the trip revealed new vistas and scenery. Vigorously recommended! You will not be disappointed.
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Date of experience: July 2021
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Response from PinFish3, Owner at West Coast Expeditions
Responded 4 weeks ago
Thank you for sharing these highlights from your experience with us! We too love these same elements, and appreciate the open energy that you brought to the trip and group. We look forward to having you back!
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CoachKerry1954 wrote a review Sep. 2021
Victoria, Canada19 contributions7 helpful votes
+1
We really enjoyed our kayak trip this summer. Dave is such a skilled guide and he made ocean kayaking accessible to all levels of experience in our group. It was also great opportunity to explore an area of Vancouver Island that is remote and pristine and learn about the indigenous, settler and natural history of Kyuquot Sound. The otters were amazing! The trip was well coordinated from our pick up in Courtenay in a luxury van, the trip across the island on highways and gravel logging roads, to the water taxi to our destination on Spring Island. The special salmon dinner with and indigenous family from the village of Kyuquot across the water was amazing! We were very well taken care of the entire trip. I forgot my phone on the charger when we left and the team bent over backwards to get it to me when I got home. We would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a once in a lifetime wilderness kayaking experience.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from PinFish3, Owner at West Coast Expeditions
Responded Sep. 25, 2021
Thank you for joining us and sharing such warm reflections from your wilderness kayaking experience! Our team genuinely enjoyed all of the interactions and experiences together with you and your friends during this trip. Great that you found that everything flowed together well, making for a positive once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you for bringing a positive spirit of open curiosity to this trip, appreciating the amazing sea otters, community interactions, and paddling. We look forward to staying connected.
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DiscoverAndEnjoy wrote a review Sep. 2021
Comox, Canada404 contributions209 helpful votes
+1
Thank you West Coast Expeditions - everyone on the team - for a fabulous, COVID-safe vacation, exquisite immersion in nature, yummy, healthy food and the attention to detail every step of the way to make sure our holiday was amazing! Our 5-day sea otter expedition was everything we hoped for and more. The bonus was being part of the last tour in the 50th year anniversary of the company. We were treated as members of the family. Mother Nature played her part with fabulous weather. We were expecting tonnes of mosquitos and there were virtually none - BONUS! We saw and heard wolves and learned of their relationship to the Mission Islands. The number of sea otters was amazing, seals off in the distance, and we discovered an abundance of sea life in the clear waters. The guides kept us a safe distance from the marine life to protect their habitat which was very much appreciated. Bring your zoom lens! Lots to capture The owner and guides were so knowledgeable and knew the history of the region. The guide to guest ratio allowed for personalizing each day's expedition to groups skills and abilities. Our fellow guests were lovely people and the atmosphere was so friendly. We were welcomed into Kyuquot traditional lands with a family feast with members of the community and a traditional salmon bake, including 4 desserts - we thought we would pop! The company has built their relationships with the local Indigenous community and the sharing of stories between everyone was a real highlight. Thanks to the amazing chef, a new surprise every day and a seafood lovers paradise. From vegetarian options to healthy snacks, delicious dinners, hearty breakfasts and tasty desserts - we never went hungry. And, the cook shack was open at 6 am so we could grab an early morning coffee, hit the beach with a book and lawn chair and watch the sunrise. Anyone wanting to be spoiled and immerse in nature, paddle with expert guides, and learn about the coastal BC waters should add this to their bucket list. Thank you, Covid for keeping us travelling in our own province! Thank you West Coast Expeditions, we will be sharing stories for years to come.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from PinFish3, Owner at West Coast Expeditions
Responded Sep. 12, 2021
Thank you for your detailed heartfelt reflections and review. It was such a treat having you both with us, absorbing and appreciating all aspects of what our staff facilitated through flexible daily outings, wildlife experiences, cultural interactions, and the comforts of camp (including the variety of chef-prepared meals). We're thrilled that our recipe worked so well for you! Given your extensive travel experience throughout Canada and beyond, we're extra grateful for this enthusiastic feedback and the joyful energy that you brought to the adventure with our staff and guests, fully embracing this as a more local (but remote) adventure through Covid. We look forward to staying connected!
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Marion P wrote a review Sep. 2021
2 contributions
The kayaking experience overall was great, nice protected spots and islands to enjoy. The food for the week was a disappointment, and not close to what you'd expect for $500 per day per person. It was basic, catered to teenage tastes and greasy. A burrito does not qualify for a dinner. The salmon dinner was the highlight and really only quality protein served, which was also repurposed for the next 2 days. We choose this trip as a recommendation from our friends, who joined us, and also agreed the food was no where near the quality they had in their first experience. After a day of activity the one thing you should be rewarded with is a good healthy balanced meal. If a quality meal is important to you then we don't recommend this excursion.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from PinFish3, Owner at West Coast Expeditions
Responded Sep. 12, 2021
Thank you for joining us on the recommendation of friends. We're happy that overall you enjoyed the kayaking experience and variety of outings in this remote part of the coast, and that the salmon dinner was also a highlight! It's unfortunate, and admittedly difficult and surprising to read that you were otherwise disappointed with the meals/food and perceived value. We fully agree that food is important and fuels people for active days. Guests usually describe our variety of meals as healthy, creative, 'amazing', and a highlight of their experience. Food is one of several significant expenses for our inclusive small-group adventures in a remote off-grid wilderness location. A lot of time, energy, and cost goes into planning a menu that can be adjusted across a spectrum of dietary needs, ordering and transporting the food to Spring Island, keeping the food properly cooled/stored, and having our camp chef and staff diligently adapt the menu around individual and group needs. With sustainability in mind, we also make a point of minimizing waste: guests are typically delighted when there is enough of the fire-BBQ'd salmon from dinner to be integrated into the next days' breakfast or lunch. It's rare and disappointing when expectations don't align, especially when referred by friends - that can be awkward. We appreciate that you and your friends joined us, that you appreciated the kayak outings, and that we now have this feedback as an opportunity to continue learning and adjusting around food. Thank you.
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