+ What time and where does the van meet each morning?
The van will be parked in front of The Cove clothing store at 8640 Granville Street. This is near the government wharf in downtown Port Hardy. The van leaves promptly at 8:30am, so guests are asked to be there by 8:15am. We are also happy to pick people up at their hotel, B&B or campground before 8:30am.
+ Is lunch included in the trip?
Yes, we pick up our bagged lunches at the iconic, Scarlet Ibis Pub, in Holberg on our way to the beach. The 'Hiker's Lunch' generally includes a sandwich/wrap, water/juice, fruit, and a sweet treat.
+ Do we go rain or shine?
Yes! We love the west coast in all types of weather. The only time we may make a slight change or cancel is for extreme wind.
+ What kind of safety gear is available?
Our guides will carry a satellite phone, a GPS messenger device, and a VHF radio at all times. In the event of an emergency, we will be able to contact our local office, search and rescue, or the coast guard (depending on location).
+ What happens when we reach our destination?
Guests will hike into the beaches with our guides. Once we reach the beach there are several key locations for guests to explore. The most iconic spots to check out are the sea stacks, sea cave and the amazing tidal pools. All of the places we visit are rich with natural and historical diversity.
+ What is the average air & water temperature on northern Vancouver Island?
The average air temperature in the summer is between 20-25 degrees Celsius. Grant Bay can be even hotter in late summer as it has a southern exposure. The water temperature tends to always be cold, and averages between 6-10 degrees Celsius.
+ What thickness of wetsuit should I have for surfing?
During the winter months we recommend a 5/4mm hoodie with booties and gloves. In the summer, a 4/3mm and a 3/2mm can be appropriate (depending on the day).
+ What is the minimum/maximum number of people that can attend each tour?
In the summer (May 1 - Sept 30) our minimun number of guests is four people. In the fall, winter and spring (Oct 1 - April 30) our minimum number of guests is two people.
+ Is there an age restriction for tours?
No, but we do ask that everyone attending is comfortably able to hike the well-maintained trail and walk on the sandy beach. Beyond that children are welcomed as long as their parents are always responsible for them. Please contact us before booking if you have any questions about age/limitations for a tour.
+ How physically demanding is the tour?
San Josef Bay is an easy/moderate 45 minute hike each way. There is no elevation change and the trail is very well-maintained. The beach there does require guests to be relatively mobile in order to explore the tidal pools and sea stacks.
+ What do I need to bring?
This will depend on weather, but everyone should wear comfortable hiking boots or running shoes. We always recommend having a rain jacket or wind breaker, backpack and sunscreen. We will provide life jackets for anyone who wants to participate in water activities.
+ What about wild animals?
There is a very good chance that you will see a black bear on the drive to the west coast. Black bears, cougars, wolves, deer, and eagles are all part of our local ecosystem and call northern Vancouver Island home. All of these animals tend to be very shy and do not want to mingle with people. If you do encounter wildlife please do not feed or engage with them.
+ What is the cancellation & re-booking policy?
We require 72 hours’ notice for cancelled or re-scheduled trips. If the trip minimum of 4 people is not filled by 24 hours before departure we may decide to cancel the trip and will offer a full refund or the opportunity to re-schedule. If the trip is rescheduled due to extreme weather we will provide a full refund.
+ What about youth pricing?
We have a limited number of discounted youth (12 and under) seats available for each trip. Please contact us to find out if youth seats are available for your preferred day and we will send you a coupon for the checkout process.