There is no seagoing experience quite like watching, close-up, a sleek whale weighing thousands of pounds frolic like a child in it’s natural habitat. Up and down the coast of British Columbia, from Victoria to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, from Vancouver to the BC Gulf Islands, and up to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Orcas (killer whales), Gray whales and Humpback whales ply the waves and perform their watery rituals. Whalewatching at its best! Whatever else you do in British Columbia, don’t miss the whale watching boat – you’ll have a tale of a whale to tell.
Whale Watching Companies in British Columbia: By Region
- Whale Watching: Victoria
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island North (Alert Bay, Broughton Archipelago, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Quatsino, Sointula, Telegraph Cove)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island Central (Campbell River, Nanaimo, Desolation Sound)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island South (Port Renfrew, Sooke, Sidney, Victoria)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island Pacific Rim (Bamfield, Barkley Sound, Tofino, Ucluelet)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver (Richmond, Steveston)
- Whale Watching: Gulf Islands (Southern Gulf Islands)
- Whale Watching: Discovery Islands (Cortes Island, Quadra Island)
- Whale Watching: BC Coastal Inlets (Bute Inlet, Kingcome Inlet, Knight Inlet, Toba Inlet)
- Whale Watching: Discovery Coast
- Whale Watching: Northern BC (Inside Passage, Prince Rupert
- Whale Watching: Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)
Orcas (Killer Whales) B.C’s killer whale population is divided into 2 distinct groups which, curiously, never mingle. Residents travel in large pods within predictable ranges and feed primarily on fish. Transients roam in smaller groups over large areas of the coast, feeding on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and other whales. The resident orca population is divided into 2 communities, each with its own geographical range. The ocean around Victoria is home to the southern resident community of 3 pods totalling approximately 90 magnificent animals. The northern residents total 217 whales in 16 pods, which patrol the Johnstone Strait and the waters of northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast. The transient killer whales comprise 30 small pods of about 160 whales, and travel much farther than the resident pods. The best viewing time is from May to October.
Pacific Gray Whales migrate north along the west coast of Vancouver Island during March and April. They are easily accessible by boat, or can be viewed from mounted telescopes in the Long Beach area. Over 20,000 Gray whales participate in the longest migration of any animal, some stop to feed and rest in our protected bays, while 40 to 50 grays will spend their summers feeding off Vancouver Island.
Humpback Whales will thrill you to the north of Vancouver Island, at the outer edges of the Inside Passage, with their acrobatic behaviour and elaborate underwater song. Treasure lifetime memories of these magnificent whales breaching within metres of your boat.
Minke whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals and Steller‘s sea lions are also viewed in the waters around Vancouver Island.