Ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself in the middle of an experience that was as exhilarating as it was relaxing?
That was the question I was trying to get answered a couple of weeks back when I talked to Captain Mick Miller about what it’s like touring a group of people around on a zodiac whale watching tour.
And as with a lot of things Mick tells me, I was intrigued. Here are five things you might not know about zodiac whale watching tours (if you haven’t been on one).
1. Zodiac Orca Tours Are Faster Than Cruiser Tours
The classic red double pontoons you see? Those are zodiac tour boats, and they can flat out fly. Zodiac tours get you around the waters off the coast of British Columbia in a darn hurry.
For Mick, zodiacs are the reason he does what he does.
“In my opinion, they’re just more fun. Life is precious, no point in waiting around!”
2. Zodiac Tours Are Intimate
No, we’re not talking about intimacy with your partner, although we’d be happy to welcome you onboard for a honeymoon/date/outing!
The truth is that zodiacs are fast, but they’re also small.
“As the captain, I can position the zodiac strategically so a family of whales will swim right on by. On the bigger boats, you can’t really just shut off the engine. There are fewer people on the zodiacs too so just the entire experience is more intimate for everybody.”
3. Zodiac Whale Watching Tours Are For Adventure Seekers
Zodiac trips are thrilling rides for adventure seekers. Zodiacs are smaller than our covered vessels and are faster on the water.
These boats are open so we provide full suits to protect you from the elements. If you’re a thrill-seeker, then a zodiac tour is your best bet.
4. It Can Be A Bumpy Ride
Zodiac tours don’t like to waste time! As we venture out to our favourite whale watching spots, there’s a chance the ride will be bumpy.
That doesn’t mean it will cause seasickness though. We asked Mick if you’re likely to experience seasickness on a zodiac and he said it’s less likely than on a covered vessel. The fresh air on your face and being closer to the water means you’re on horizon level so you won’t feel off balance which causes seasickness.
It’s not for the extra sensitive though and we do not recommend these tours for pregnant women or people with back or bone density issues.
5. You’ll Never Forget It
A few weeks ago Mick told me the biggest reason he drives zodiac whale watching tours is to give people the experience of a lifetime.
“It’s not just the orcas you get to see. It’s everything, the birds, the seals, the fish – and in a zodiac, you can get there faster and see more animals, more nature, and more of the natural side of our planet.” – Captain Mick
Alright, I’m on team zodiac. Bouncing off the water and racing toward adventure – that certainly sounds like a trip I’d never forget!
Zodiac tours still have their fair share of young children and the elderly, but it all comes down to what you’re looking for.
The experience of a lifetime? Yes, please!
Originally published June 2017, updated in April 2021