British Columbia's coastline provides incomparable access to some of the West Coast's most amazing sea-life, from nearly-domestic harbor seals to sunbathing sea lions to soaring gulls with their trademark screeching. But no amount of exposure to the coastal fauna can prepare you for the jaw dropping experience of an up-close-and-personal encounter with the communities of Orca, Gray and Humpback whales that inhabit the local waters.
Whale-watching in BC is not a light suggestion - it's almost mandatory. As any visitor will attest, a day spent following a pod of earth's biggest mammals is an unforgettable and sometimes emotional experience. And with the provinces western borders delineated by the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait, the Georgia Strait, the Inside Passage and the Pacific Ocean, your options are numerous. These are some of our favourites…
Victoria the area's highest concentrations of whale-watching companies with over a dozen to choose from. Seacoast Expeditions, the city's first, provides several vessel options, including the thrilling Zodiac tours. This adrenaline-pumping experience is not for the faint of heart, but well worth it, as the ride out to the sighting areas is almost as thrilling as the whale sightings themselves! For a more conservative excursion, try Five Star Whale Watching Adventures, an outfit that uses two 40-passenger catamarans as they wind through the Gulf Islands in search of a pod to introduce you to. Concerned that you won't get a chance to see our massive mammalian friends? Don't worry. Most companies provide a free voucher for a second trip if you're unlucky your first time out. Of course, Orca Spirit Adventures ups your chances since they are the owner/operators of the spotting network as well! Other places on Vancouver Island where you can enjoy whale-watching include Sidney, Sooke, Tofino, Ucluelet, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Port Hardy.
The South, Central and Northern BC coastline is also peppered with well-equipped, high success rate whale-watching companies. Vancouver Whale Watching Safari offers high-speed trips into Orca-friendly waters with packages that include hotel pickup and an on-board lunch. Vancouver Whale Watch features 3-5 hour open or semi-enclosed zodiac tours that navigate the beautiful Gulf Islands with professional naturalists as your guides. Other places on Mainland Coast where you can enjoy whale-watching include Bute Inlet, Kingcome Inlet, Knight Inlet, Toba Inlet, Desolation Sound, Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands.
BC's whales are a beloved part of our community. Come meet the locals!