Is Victoria, BC The Whale Watching Capital of the World?
July 23, 2019
The amount of knowledge the international orca research community has gained in the past decade or so has taught us more about orca whales than everything we learned throughout the 20th century. From their unique dialects to their familial structure, we know now that we have more in common with these magical marine mammals than we ever believed possible.
Technology, research, and the focus on eco-friendly sustainability has been an important tool in understanding orca behaviour. An important aspect of that behaviour is not necessarily what they’re doing, but where they’re doing it. If we know where they are, that means we can study them. Whale watching adventures exist in every part of the world that’s known to contain orca whales who hunt, travel, and live alongside their families or in isolated pods of transient orca whales. Here in Victoria, BC, we’ve got a unique collection of elements that make this one of the world’s premier locations when it comes to watching whales in their natural environment: the open ocean.
Heavy Traffic Months
Orca whales are a common sight just off the coast of British Columbia in the hot summer months of June, July, and August. Biggs orca whales travel north in the summer to the cooler waters of Alaska, and then all the way back to the warmer climate of California when autumn hits. The nice thing is that they take their time. Whale sightings are all but guaranteed in Victoria during the summer.
Orcas aren’t the only whales in the pacific ocean on Canada’s west coast either. The area is also heavily populated with humpback whales, grey whales, and various species of dolphins and porpoises, too.
The wildlife in British Columbia, particularly that which resides on and around Vancouver Island, is renowned world-wide. Whale watchers in Victoria are also subjected to sightings of bald eagles and other seabirds in the sky, seals and sea lions occupying the rocky shores on land, and fuzzy sea otters swimming and running and relaxing wherever they see fit.
The City of Victoria
The capital city of British Columbia is a cross between a timeless European village paved with cobblestone walkways and a modern seaside port. There’s abundant activity anywhere you go in Victoria, from a vibrant arts and culture scene filled with quaint coffee shops, craft breweries, and restaurants to suit every taste, particularly seafood – it’s caught only a few feet away!
The Province of British Columbia
Beyond Victoria, Vancouver Island offers whatever an adventurous traveler might be looking for – world-class hiking and mountain biking trails, secluded fishing spots (which double as occasional fixed whale-watching viewpoints), and the legendary tourist village of Tofino further up island. Plus, if you venture back to the lower mainland, you’ve got the incredible city of Vancouver, which is nestled between the north shore mountain range and the pacific ocean.
So, we’ll admit that we’re biased. We’ve truly got it all here in Victoria, but none of it matters more than the opportunity to share this wild corner of the world with orcas, humpbacks, and the occasional curious sea otter in its natural habitat.