Vancouver Island is a great destination for whale watching. In fact, in 2010 the popular magazine “Travel & Leisure” named it one of the Best Spots for Whale Watching in North America.
Whale watching here is definitely an adventure you shouldn’t miss. Ride on a tour boat and see killer whales (orcas), humpback whales and other marine wildlife species. Popular whale watching tours can be found in Tofino, Telegraph Cove, Ucluelet, Victoria, Campbell River and other locations.
The Whale Centre in Tofino offers fantastic whale watching tours from mid-March until about the end of November. Their whale watching tours last about 2 ½ to three hours. They offer the chance for tourists to experience whales in their natural environment. Tourists are provided with Mustang survival suits that will help keep them warm and safe during the entire tour. The whale watching tours they offer focus on and highlight grey as well as humpback whales in Clayoquot Sound. Other species that are viewable on this tour are sea otters, seals, orcas and sea lions.
Prince of Whales Whale Watching is known to be the longest running company that provides whale watching tours in Victoria. They have hourly tour departures, therefore providing a more flexible schedule to tourists who would like to embark on a whale watching journey. During peak season, they offer departures every half hour to cater to more guests. Get ready for the adventure of your life with Prince of Whales Whale Watching tours – you are guaranteed to have loads of fun. Not only will they take you on a tour that will allow you to see humpback whales, orcas and other marine wildlife but tour guides will also be generously providing history and facts about the animals you see and the places you visit. Their zodiac–style vessels are known to be the safest and the largest whale watching ride in Victoria. The tour will last 3 hours at a minimum and would include several stops at various destinations of interest. The price is very affordable at $110 for adults and $85 for children ages of 8-12 as of 2013.
Another whale watching company in Vancouver Island is Jamie’s Whaling Station. They celebrated their 30 year anniversary in 2012. The owner of this company is known to have pioneered the art of whale watching on the island. Most often viewed from these tours are the Pacific Gray Whales. Humpback whales are also frequently seen, especially in the months of February, June as well as July, August & September.
Whale watching on Vancouver Island is truly an adventure you should try at least once. There are many other whale watching tours not mentioned in this article and many of them offer year round tours, although the best times to go on a whale watching tour are from April through October because these are the times when orcas (killer whales) are more predominantly seen in Vancouver Island locations such as Victoria, Sidney and Sooke.
About 22,000 grey whales swim along the coastline from February through October on a yearly migration to their feeding places for summer. A lot of these huge whales return year after year or stay during the entire season in the waters of Tofino and Barkley Sound.
An annual festival called Pacific Rim Whale Festival in March is celebrated on Vancouver Island to highlight the return of these whales. Various activities, entertainment and of course, whale watching tours are available for everyone to enjoy.