Premier Listings for Race Rocks Reserve
This very special place, called XwaYeN (pronounced shwai’yen), was established as an ecological reserve in 1980. Race Rocks Ecological Reserve protects intertidal and subtidal communities that are extremely rich as a result of the strong tidal currents in the area.
The protected area is an important teaching site for the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, comprised of a marine area of 251.40 hectares extending down to 120 feet, and a land area of 0.5 hectares (total 251.90 hectares).
Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is located 17 kilometres southwest of Victoria at the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and is the most southerly part of Canada’s Pacific coast. One of its nine islets is the site of Race Rocks Light station, the second oldest lighthouse in Western Canada.
Named for its strong tidal currents and rocky reefs, Race Rocks is a showcase for Pacific marine life, featuring whales, sea lions, seals, birds and a dazzling array of underwater plants and animals. Cold, nutrient-rich waters from the depths of the Pacific Ocean are forced upwards to the surface in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Fast-moving water with eddies and whirlpools at Race Rocks supports an ecosystem very rich in marine mammals, fish, invertebrates and birds.
In 1980, Race Rocks was designated as an ecological reserve by the province of British Columbia. The area’s remarkable tidal flow – up to seven knots – supplies a generous stream of nutrients to a thriving community of subtidal invertebrates, including sponges, anemones, hydroids and soft corals. Crowds of barnacles, tunicates, urchins and sea stars adorn the underwater cliffs. Fish such as sculpin, rockfish, and lingcod seek refuge in the rocky crevices and undulating kelp forests.
Above water, the islets serve as nesting colonies for many seabirds, such as gulls, cormorants, pigeon guillemots and oystercatchers, and as a stopover for migratory birds. They share the rocks with resting harbour seals, Steller’s and California sea lions, and a few northern elephant seals.
River otters patrol the shoreline, and killer whales are frequent visitors. Gray whales, Dall’s and harbour porpoises occasionally pass by.
The exceptional diversity of marine life at Race Rocks long recognized by First Nations in the area makes it an ideal place for scientific and educational observation. It serves as a model for the transition zone between inner coastal waters and the open ocean, which is why nearby Lester B. Pearson College was instrumental in having Race Rocks designated as an ecological reserve. In cooperation with BC Parks and the Canadian Coast Guard, the college now operates the light station facility as an education centre.
Race Rocks was declared a candidate Marine Protected Area in 1998 and endorsed in September 2000. A Marine Protected Area is an area of the ocean that is designated for special protection under the Oceans Act. The goals of a Marine Protected Area are to protect and conserve the natural beauty and richness of Canada’s marine areas, retain ecological diversity, provide scientific research and educational opportunities, and preserve the many recreational and cultural features of the oceans. Since 1998, First Nations, BC Parks and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have been working closely with the public and the Race Rocks Advisory Board to manage the ecological reserve.
Race Rocks is one of the most challenging and exhilarating dive sites in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. With currents that often exceed 5 or 6 knots, the window for diving is limited to the slack tides that occur every 6 1/2 hours. In addition to the thrill of the rich marine life, divers can search for debris from over 100 ships that have been wrecked at Race Rocks. Spring and Fall are the best diving times at Race Rocks, with good visibility fairly certain.
Access to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is by boat only, with marine eco tours provided out of Sooke and Victoria. Fishing and collecting of all marine life is prohibited within the protected area.
For a virtual tour of Race Rocks, visit www.racerocks.com.
Nearby Regions & Towns
Orca Spirit AdventuresOrca Spirit Adventures
Trip Departures: Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel – Marina Level 146 Kingston Street Victoria BC V8V 1V4 postalHome Phone: 250-383-8411homeHome Fax: 250-383-4666homefaxWork Phone: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Victoria’s Original and Authentic Whale Watching Experience will stay with you for a lifetime. You’ll come to face to face with some of nature’s most spectacular creatures — orcas, humpbacks, porpoises, sea lions, seals, and bald eagles. It’s something that has to be seen to be believed.
Victoria experiences the longest season and most active whales and marine mammals in BC! Our focus is on conservation, education, safety, fun, and exhilaration. As we own and operate the spotting network which locates the whales, we have the highest whale watching success rate. Proud to be the only company using environmentally friendly engines.
Orca Spirit also offers cruises of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Victoria dinner cruises, charter wedding cruises, charter tours from Vancouver, fishing charters, and tours to Butchart Gardens. Located in the Coast Harbourside Hotel in the Inner Harbour.
Five Star Whale Watching AdventuresFive Star Whale Watching Adventures
651 Humboldt Street Victoria BC V8W 1A6 postalHome Phone: 250-388-7223homeHome Fax: 250-388-5474homefaxWork Phone: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Five Star Whale Watching helps you discover the picturesque southern Vancouver Island, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands, home to the largest population of Killer Whales (Orcas) in the world. Come aboard one of our two 40-passenger Expedition Catamarans, each of which combines comfort, speed, safety, and your choice of 3 viewing platforms. With 20 years experience watching whales we offer more that just a “point and photograph” tour.
SpringTide ChartersSpringTide Charters
SpringTide Whale Watching is family owned and operated with an office perfectly located in the heart of downtown Victoria. We have shared Vancouver Island’s marine ecosystems with visitors for over 21 years, earning a local and international reputation for excellence in Whale Watching, Eco Tours and Special Event Charters.
Get ready to explode your senses through up-close encounters with Southern Vancouver Island’s wild and unforgettable marine life and coastline. Experience the joy, excitement and wonderful memories of our whales, porpoise, seals and marine birds!
WHALE WATCH with SpringTide on the 84-passenger, 61-foot Marauder IV, or join an exhilarating excursion onboard one of our high-speed, open Zodiacs. Enjoy complimentary beverages on Marauder while listening to professional biologists provide informative narrations, or have a thrill of a lifetime with the wind in your hair on our Zodiacs.
Want another terrific experience while visiting Victoria? Then SPORTFISH year round for Salmon and Halibut on SpringTide’s 42’ Sportfisher. We are open all year, offering whale watching tours seven days a week April through October, and our Zodiac Marine Wildlife Tours November through March.
Eagle Wing Tours Whale WatchingEagle Wing Tours Whale Watching
Fisherman’s Wharf Near Pier #2 Next to Barb’s Fish And Chips Victoria BC V8W 3H9 postalHome Phone: 250-384-8008homeWork Phone: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
We are Wild 4 Whales!
The truth is, not all whale watching tours are created equal.
Eagle Wing Tours is Victoria, BC’s 1st multiple award winning whale watching tour company. Guaranteed Whales & guaranteed adventure with the most thrilling, environmentally responsible, sustainable, professional, comfortable, and safe marine adventure tour company on Vancouver Island.
Don’t take our word for it, we have been rated as the #1 whale watching tour company in Victoria on Trip Advisor since 2007. As passionate stewards of a world renowned marine environment, we are motivated to provide our guests with more than just, “a look at the whales”. Eagle Wing Tours was Canada’s first 100% carbon neutral whale watching tour company, and the only one to support 1% For the Planet.
You will be treated to attentive service by dedicated professionals who have spent their lives learning the intricacies of the local ecosystem. This locally owned and family operated marine adventure eco-tourism company offers the only sustainable, premium experience for travelers demanding more.
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Eagle Wing’s mission is to work with purpose and passion on behalf of all wildlife in the Salish Sea, encouraging our guests to become more involved in the education and conservation of a sustainable, healthy, and more balanced marine eco-system…
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