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Port Renfrew Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales & Pacific White-Sided Dolphins

June 12, 2019


A short 2-hour drive North West of Victoria takes you to true west coast wilderness.

Here in Port Renfrew, we are kicking off our third season of whale watching.

As the only ocean wildlife operator in the area your sure to get an intimate, once in a lifetime adventure!


Join us down on the Renfrew community dock where you will see a boat that isn’t quite like the others.

Built for speed and comfort Zephyr, the most recent addition to our fleet is a zodiac made to give an exhilarating experience as we explore the wild west coast and entrance to the Pacific Ocean.


What have we been seeing during our first week of tours?

From the dock alone we have seen eagles in the trees scanning the bay of Port San Juan for their next meal. We have witnessed the great blue herein navigating the intertidal zone with extraordinary care and patience.

Most exciting of all we have seen our recent local grey whale grazing along the waters edge sifting along the bottom in search of crustaceans. This has all happened before leaving the dock!

Once we have set out it has been a mixture of glorious sunshine and light rain in a constant battle reminding us that we are exploring a temperate rain forest. We love starting our tours by running along the west coast hiking trail.

Along this route, we have had encounters with harbour seals, Steller sea lions, and often the appearance of our beautiful young grey whale. Heading offshore into the open waters we play in the swell in search for even larger animals.


Once again the humpbacks whales along with the sheer number of them astounded us this week. On one of our tours, we counted at least 40 in the area! After a long migration up from Mexico they seem more than happy to eat all day. Some of our favourite humpback displays have included epic breaches, curious spy hops and a couple of individuals playing with bull kelp!

We have also had repeated encounters with super pods of Pacific White-Sided dolphins.

We estimate at least 400 individuals!


Last year we started working with the happy whale project. This program through face recognition software is using the unique markings on humpbacks tails or flukes to match them with fellow naturalists, researchers and whale enthusiasts around the world. It is giving us a better understanding of numbers, migration routes, as well as breeding locations.

We look forward to matching up with new animals and to see the return of ones from previous seasons.

So make sure to bring out your camera to capture this raw beauty and don’t forget to take the time to stop and experience the wild.



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