Whales & Wildlife

You’re on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The real ocean. The ocean with whales, sharks, dolphins, octopi and sea lions. The wild ocean with waters so clear scuba divers come from all over the world to experience it.

Vancouver Island’s colourful cities and towns hug the scenic coastlines, leaving a vast wilderness for you to explore. You’ll be very lucky to see a cougar (or unlucky if it’s hungry) but don’t be surprised if you see a momma black bear and cubs picnicking in a blackberry patch or a grey wolf loping down the beach looking for tidal treasures.

Thanks to resident pods, the Victoria area is renowned as a prime location to spot the magnificent Orca or Killer whales. But you might also get a chance to see Humpback and Gray whales as well as porpoises and sea lions.

 If you’re looking for an “all-out” nature experience, Telegraph Cove just might fit the bill. Telegraph Cove, north of Campbell River, is a fabulous launch point for wilderness tours. Whale watching season runs from May to October offering a chance to see migratory orcas, humpbacks, dolphins and sea lions. This small seaside community is also the hub for Grizzly bear safaris to the Great Bear Rainforest on the mainland. Fishing, kayaking, diving, hiking are other featured activities.

ORCA SO CLOSE by Roxy Hurtubise
ORCA SO CLOSE by Roxy Hurtubise

 Of course, on the other side of the Island, Tofino and Ucluelet are world-famous for eco-tourism opportunities. The Pacific Rim whale watching season, runs from March through October. The most spectacular viewing is in the spring when upwards of 20 thousand Gray whales head north to Alaska along the shores of West Vancouver Island on their annual migration from the Baja Peninsula north to the Bering Strait. More than a few stay in local waters for the summer offering prime opportunities for viewing. Both Ucluelet and Tofino bristle with many companies offering whale watching tours of two to three hours. At low tide, from April to October, you can also take a tour to see (from a safe distance) the Vancouver Island Black Bear.

 

One really cool thing about Vancouver Island is that once you’re here, all of this is accessible from wherever you are. If the best whale-watching isn’t right where you are, there’s a bus, boat or plane waiting to take you there. The joy is that your adventure can last 45 minutes, if that’s all the time you have, all afternoon or two weeks. You can take a boat or a float plane to a remote fishing lodge or an island resort and lounge, fish, eat, swim, explore to your heart’s delight. Gourmet dining on fresh Island seafood, fine Vancouver Island wine and wildlife adventures?

Yes! You can have it all.

 

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