There is a unique fascination; a bond of cousins if you will, between humans and these incredible majestic mammals. From the depths of the ocean they rise, puffing the incredibly fine saltwater mist from their blow holes, and ever so graciously slide back into the depths; all with the grace of a perfectly choreographed ballet move. As marine biologists study and learn more about our cousins; they are sharing their findings and we are fascinated by their songs, communications, familial bonds, amazing intelligence, and unique migration habits. Kudos to all those concerned people who have studied, reported, and recommended positive changes to preserve our fragile coastal eco-systems. As we grow to love and respect our Pacific Northwest Coast Whales, we need to ensure they are protected.
It is widely believed that our current pod populations are a scant reflection of historical numbers. International treaties have put an end to the exploitation of whale hunting and enabled researchers to focus on conservation and growth. The Pacific Northwest is a fortunate locale for whale enthusiasts, most days finding an interesting new friend. You may see one of our numerous whale species or maybe one of our loud smelly elephant seals that will express his displeasure; or is that a mating call? For those of us that prefer to stay on dry land there is always our friendly sea otters to entertain you at Fisherman’s Warf, Victoria, Vancouver Island.
The waters off southern Vancouver Island are home to many different whale species, each with their own unique attributes and awe factor.
Researchers believe the Humpback Whale, once the most hunted of all the great whales, is still at a precarious balance to survive. Known as the singers of the sea the males can “sing” their throaty call for more than thirty minute intervals hopefully enough entertainment for us to overcome their wart like heads and encompassing barnacles. Oh, be sure your professional whale watching guide knows not to mess with their flipper slapping when a desirable female comes around!
The Minke Whale is a year round local resident. One of the smaller species measuring in at 10 meters long they are often seen breaching when feeding, jumping right out of the water and turning to come straight down on its back, very acrobatic. Did you know that Minke you are watching out there will likely live as long as you?
Our beloved Pacific Grey Whales really are on their way back from the brink. About 20 thousand of these migratory species will glide through our Northwest waters between February and May on their way to the lush summer feeding ground in the Gulf of Alaska. A few choose to hang about all summer joining the migration south November through January. Measuring in as one of the longest mammals on earth you really don’t want to mess with a new mother defending her young, the nicknames ‘hard-head’ and ‘devil-fish’ were honestly earned.
And of course, everyone is completely enamored with our sensitive and sociable Orcas, our resident killer whales. Almost 400 killer whales make our waters their home for part of their migration journey. Pods can be made up of 5 to 50 family members and often pods join one another forming the infamous ‘super pods’ we see here. Incredible as it may sound there are 3 pods in the Georgia Straight and Juan de Fuca Straight that often join together much like the up to 16 pods in Northern Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert co habitat. There is an amazing respect for the boundary between these two feeding grounds, each staying on their own side. Seen here most often in the summer and fall they like to entertain; breaching and blowing salt spray, and tail slap, never fails to delight local tours. The largest members in the dolphin family these genital giants always take your breath away. With luck on you whale watching tour, Victoria BC you will hopefully see J, K, or L pods, our local Orca families, as well as possibly sighting a transient pod coming through on their migration path.
To learn more of the Pacific Northwestern Whale families and our conservation efforts to maintain their natural habitat while allowing safe viewing distance for you to experience these incredible creatures please visit www.pacificwhalewatchassociation.com
We understand how daunting it is to choose a whale watching tour in Victoria BC. Competition is stiff and although most are reputable we know you want to reserve with those that excel in the Victoria whale watching experience. Much like your choice of lodging in Victoria BC, where do you start? Your decision of a Victoria bed and breakfast inn truly is the best first step. Whether by referral or bed and breakfast review, choosing one of the approved Victoria’s Best BnB’s properties, like Ashcroft House, assures your vacation will begin with the perfect nights sleep & start your new day with a scrumptious home made breakfast. At Ashcroft House B&B we are happy to provide our confirmed guests with our choices for the best whale watching in Victoria BC. Choice enough so you can create the perfect nature ride.