Killer Whales (Orcas)
About 80 Killer Whales in three main family pods make the Victoria area and the surrounding Gulf Islands home. The whales feeding area is about a 160 km (100 miles) radius around the Victoria area.
There are resident Orcas that can be seen from the spring to the late fall. There are also transient Orcas all year and especially during the winter when there is lots of seals to feed on. But your best chance of seeing the Orcas is the spring to fall season.
You may also get to see Gray, Minke and Humpback whales as well as porpoises, sea lions and seals. Also keep an eye out for cormorants and the majestic bald eagle.
What to Wear
The boats travel up to 30 miles per hour so it is wise to bring a jacket and cap, especially if you are in a smaller boat is open. Some of the whale watching tour operators have larger boats with enclosed spaces as well as food service and washrooms but you will pay extra for that.
Be sure to bring your camera and learn in advance how to shoot fast moving objects. My camera has a sports setting which allows me to shoot continuously. You should also bring a plastic bag or camera bag to protect your camera as you are close to the water.
The boats come to a full stop and the whales can come right by the boat. It all happens very quickly as they are fast swimmers and it seems even more so when they are feeding. Check in advance with the boat operator for the best spot to get pictures.
Whale Watching Tour Operators
You have a number of options to select from:
Prince of Whales Whale Watching
The Prince of Whales whale watching has Zodiacs and a 62-foot cruiser, the Ocean Magic, which can carry 74 passengers with heated passenger seating as well as on-board washrooms. The Zodiacs are open so be prepared to water sprays and a fast ride. They have the largest fleet of whale watching boats in British Columbia and can service some 800 passengers a day.
812 Wharf Street, Lower Causeway Level
Victoria, BC V8W 1T3 Canada Tel: 250.383.4884 Fax: 250.383.4882 Toll Free: 888.383.4884 www.princeofwhales.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Info: Orca Spirit Adventures
146 Kingston Street, Marina Level
Victoria, BC V8V 1V4 Canada