More Chances to See Whales

Maybe you missed the gray whale spotted in False Creek earlier in the month.  No worries.  May marks the start of whale watching season in Vancouver.  From this month all the way through the end of October, migrating whales will be skirting the B.C. coastline.  It’s an impressive display of marine wildlife – if you know where to look.

Most whales don’t opt for a cruise through downtown Vancouver, preferring more roomy digs instead.  Locally, one of the best places to see whales and, in particular, killer whales (or orcas) is off the coast of Richmond.  Three separate pods of orcas (which aren’t really whales at all but oversized dolphins) roam here in the cold waters of the Georgia Strait.

While the orcas are rarely visible from land, several operators in Richmond offer day-long whale watching tours, giving visitors a look at the giant mammals in their true element – the open sea.  Steveston Seabreeze Adventures and Vancouver Whale Watch both leave from the historic fishing village of Steveston, in the southwest corner of Richmond.

Tours depart daily at 11 a.m. and can last up to five hours, as trained captains track down migrating pods and maneuver in for a closer view.  Naturalists on board offer commentary and passengers can also listen to the whales’ distinctive singing using special headphones.  Up close, the orcas are even more impressive than when seen from a distance, their massive, school-bus sized bodies cruising through the sea  and sometimes breaching the water in spectacular jumps.

The best part may be that tickets ($120 for adults) come with a guarantee.  Whales are spotted on about 90 percent of excursions.  But if you’re among the unlucky 10 percent to return to port empty-handed, you can come back anytime for a free trip.

Remy Scalza

Tagged: , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.