Heathergate House Tour
WHALE & WILDLIFE WATCHING TOUR
After a complimentary breakfast at the oceanfront Coast Victoria Hotel, we hit the seas for an action-packed 3 hour whale watching tour.
SALISH SEA WILDLIFE
Almost 200 species of mammals and birds call the Salish Sea waterways surrounding southern Vancouver Island home, relying on its delicate marine ecosystem for food and habitat.
HEATHERGATE HOUSE & COTTAGE
Over 20 years ago, proprietor Ned Easton crafted Heathergate in the arts-and-crafts style of an English country lodge. Still managed by Ned and his wife Ann, the charming property is popular with guests from around the world.
Located in the historic and colourful neighborhood of James Bay, Heathergate House is just minutes from the bustle and charm of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour and downtown center.
Aside from its great location and cozy atmosphere, the welcoming hospitality offered by two of Victoria’s most dedicated innkeepers has earned Heathergate a spot on multiple “Best Places to Stay” guidebook lists.
Accommodation includes B&B or self catering options, and the choice of a private, two-bedroom cottage, and two one-bedroom flats in the main guesthouse, each with private entrances, sitting rooms, gourmet kitchen and access to laundry facilities.
How old do you have to be to go on a tour?
Our covered vessel tours welcome people of all ages, but the zodiacs are restricted to those that are 6 years old and above.
Can you pick me up from my hotel?
Yes! Orca Spirit Adventures offers a courtesy shuttle service for all guests. We’ll pick you up at your downtown Victoria hotel—and when your whale watching adventure is over, we’ll drop you back at the hotel, or if you prefer, anywhere in the Victoria city core.
How far in advance of my tour does the shuttle arrive?
The day before your tour we prepare our shuttle schedule and will contact you directly to provide you with a time frame in which the shuttle will get you from your hotel. Pickups are anywhere from and hour and half to thirty minutes before the schedule tour departure time depending on the hotel location.
Is there parking near the departure dock?
Wharf Street Departures
Yes, there are pay parking lots at this office as well as street parking.
Coast Hotel & Marina by APA Departures
There is a parking lot at the corner of the Quebec Street and Montreal Street about a half block from our office. As well, there is another lot at the corner of Kingston Street and Menzie Street.
What is the boat ride like?
Exciting and sometimes quite adventurous. Depending on the weather and conditions on the water, the experience can be wild and wet, smooth and dry, or any combination of the two. A typical zodiac trip experiences more ocean spray, and passengers can be splashed at some point along the route. Morning tours and those on covered vessels are usually the calmest.
What is the best time of year to see whales
While it is possible to see whales at any time of the year, there is a peak season from May through October. During this peak season our sighting success rate is at 95-98% for viewing resident Orca pods near Victoria. In addition to Orcas, see the other wildlife that we view in the Victoria area.
Will we really see whales?
Southern Vancouver Island is the best place to see whales in the wild! There is a chance of seeing a number of different species of whales including resident and transient orcas, humpback whales, Minke whales, and gray whales in addition to other wildlife including but not limited to seals, sea lions, bald eagles, cormorants, and the Race Rocks Lighthouse resident sea otter – Ollie! All of this being said, these are wild animals that we are viewing and so there is the chance of them being a little more elusive some days, which is why we offer our Whale Guarantee. In the event of a no-whale trip, you are invited back with us for a complimentary tour. No rush, this is a life-time guarantee as we want to bring all of our guests’ whale watching dreams to life.
Where do I board the boat?
- Depending on which tour you’re on, boarding will take place at one of our two locations. You’ll be notified in advance of the departure location at either:
- Our private dock, approximately 70 yards from the Orca Spirit Adventures office in the Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, at 146 Kingston Street in Victoria, BC
- At the Harbour Air Seaplane terminal at 950 Wharf Street in Victoria, BC
- Wild Renfrew Guest Services at 17310 Parkinson Road, Port Renfrew BC
What should I wear?
During the summer (June through August), light summer tops and pants or shorts are fine, but it’s a good idea to bring layers such as a fleece jacket or sweater. It is surprisingly cool traveling quickly over the ocean. On cool days, evening trips and during the spring (April – May) and fall (September – October), long pants, sweaters, snug fitting hats and warm footwear is recommended.
Can I bring a camera?
Yes! If you are joining us on a zodiac tour, we recommend talking to captain before your tour as he may recommend that you put it in the dry storage beneath your seat depending on the wind, weather, and sea conditions on the day of tour. Onboard covered vessel tours, if we experience inclement weather you can leave it in the heated indoor cabin, protected from the elements.
Are there bathrooms on the boat?
There is a bathroom onboard all covered vessel tours.
Are there snacks and beverages available for purchase on board?
Snacks and pop available for purchase for $2 on board during covered vessel tours.
What is your cancellation policy?
24 hour cancellation policy
- Accommodation packages run May 1st through October 31st
- Guests must check in at least 30 minutes prior to departure time at their specific check in location
- Passenger boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure time
- Tour departures and packages can be subject to time change and are weather dependent.
- The Zodiac is not recommended for those with neck or back injuries, expectant mothers, or children under the age of 6
- Cancellation Policy for all tours and packages: 24 hours
- Disclaimer: Tour departures and packages can be subject to time change and are weather dependent
- One night stay at Heathergate House for two
- Free hotel shuttle pick-up & drop off
- 3 hour, 100% carbon neutral whale watching tour
- Choice of open zodiac or covered vessel*
- Full length cruiser suits (XS to XXL) for protection from ocean spray and cool air (Zodiac tours only)
- A hydrophone (underwater microphone) for listening to whales
- Certified Marine Naturalist/Biologist on board each tour
- Wildlife identification kits
- Whale Sighting Guarantee
- Complimentary coffee & tea on board covered vessel tours
- Blankets and binoculars
- $2 donation towards restoration of the salmon in the Salish Sea
- A safe and comfortable experience backed by our perfect safety record
*NOTE: Zodiac is not recommended for those with neck or back injuries, or expectant mothers, or children under the age of 6
What To Bring
Sunglasses, camera, tight fitting hat, sunscreen and a sense of adventure!
Please Be Aware
We believe that it’s possible to provide an educational experience to guests while respecting the whale’s natural habitat. Orca Spirit has always taken special care to practice respectful whale watching by following strict guidelines around vessel speed, viewing distance, and radio and engine usage.
After a morning on the water, we shuttle over to the tropical Butterfly Gardens, and beautifully manicured grounds at Butchart Gardens.
Cruise over snow-capped mountains in a seaplane, then join a 3 hour tour on one of our luxurious covered vessels or open air zodiacs.
Combine an exhilarating 3 hour whale watching adventure with an overnight stay at Wild Renfrew’s seaside cottages.
Leaders in responsible Eco-Tourism