For a great number of people seeing whales especially Orca whales (or Killer whales) is a bucket list item. Viewing these creatures in their natural habitat is a memorable experience sought after by many. There are few things in life as thrilling as seeing Earth’s largest mammal rise from the water.
These majestic animals can be found in the waters of Vancouver Island during certain times of the year and are one of the top reasons people visit the Island. There are an estimated 85 Orcas living the in waters surrounding Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and up to 285 for all of the island regions combined. Orcas are not the only species of whales living in the southern region. There are also Humpback and Grey whales as well as porpoises that migrate annually along the coast of the Island.
Orcas are very social animals and they travel in groups known as pods. These pods can range in size but generally are between 5-30 whales. Sometimes these pods combine and form groups. The pods are led by females and have social hierarchies. It is suggesting that the orcas have a complex form of communication and have different dialects from pod to pod. These massive creatures are among the fastest marine animals due to their size and strength. It is said that the orcas can reach speeds greater than 35mph!
The whales draw visitors to the island year after year. Sooke, a quaint town roughly 40 minutes from Victoria is home to some amazing whale watching. These beautiful creatures can occasionally be seen from marinas but your best bet for seeing them is taking a whale watching tour.
Taking a whale watching tour is the perfect way to see the whales as they explore and play in their natural habitat and it is also a great opportunity to learn more about these unique mammals. The tours are not only thrilling and exciting but they will leave you with a greater understanding and appreciation for these enchanting animals.
The likelihood of seeing whales when you are on a tour will vary depending on the time of year you choose to go. The most popular of year is when the whales are migrating which is April through November for the transient Orcas. Many of the whale watching tour companies have a likelihood of seeing whales as high as 95% during the peak season. In fact, the whales are so popular this time of year they have a festival dedicated to their migration.
It is important to be well prepared for your whale watching excursion. We have listed some important items you will want to pack for your epic trip!
Warm clothing- dress in layers, its cooler on the water and it can be unpredictable. It is important to bring a rain jacket and or windbreaker! you may want to bring gloves depending on time of year…
- Flat shoes
- Camera or phone (make sure you have a wrist strap so it doesn’t go overboard)
When you are planning your whale watching experience why not make a getaway out of it? At Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina we offer whale watching packages including accommodations and is located right in the heart of the wildlife rich waters. The tours depart from the Resort’s marina in the Sooke Basin and explore the Strait if Juan de Fuca. It is here you will see the Orcas, Humpbacks, and Gray whales. These tours also showcase other marine life such as porpoises, seals and sea lions.
The peak time of year for Whale watching is just around the corner. Check out our packages with local whale watching tours and book your package today. The beauty of the west coast and the exhilarating experience of seeing the whales will leave you with a lifetime of memories.
Come curious and leave mesmerized… The whales are waiting!