Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Sooke Bluffs, West Coast Rugged Shorelines, Race Rocks Lighthouse, and More!

September 3, 2020

September 3rd, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour

September is off to a beautiful start with warm temperatures and sunny skies! Guests joined us on the Pacific Explorer and headed out onto the Juan de Fuca Strait. We had a report from land that a small group of whales was passing Oak Bay around 9am and heading west. We decided to search the shoreline of Vancouver Island in that same direction in hopes of find the family hunting along the shoreline.

The coast of Vancouver Island is very beautiful, characterized by steep cliffs, massive trees, and rocky shorelines. We passed by the first lighthouse to be built on the Canadian Pacific- Fisgard! It was erected in 1860 and first turned on it’s guiding light on November 16th. It is now a National Historic Site and operated by Parks Canada where people can visit the area and check out the attached house and see original artifacts from the lighthouse.

We kept searching west, passing through Beecher Bay and pushing passed the Sooke bluffs. We aimed south to look in the more open waters of the Strait. Something caught our eye towards Crescent Bay, Washington, so we headed over in that direction to investigate. What looked like clouds of exhaled air from a humpback turned out to be huge rolling waves along the shoreline once we got closer.

We cruised northeast to check out Race Rocks Lighthouse. Here we got to see the second oldest lighthouse on the Canadian Pacific, but it is only 1 month and 10 days younger than Fisgard. Here, California Sea Lions were spending the afternoon lounging in the warm sun. They were accompanied by a few Steller Sea Lions and little Harbour Seals. This is an all-male haul-out area for sea lions and they are seen here between the end of July and the middle of May. They disappear for about 2 months to mate with females in other locations.

We made one last attempt to locate a Humpback whale that was spotted earlier not too far south of the Victoria Harbour. We were joined by another whale watching boat, everyone scanning in all directions. Unfortunately, we were not able to relocate her despite all our efforts to spot a blow. It is a rare occasion to not find any whales in the Salish Sea, but we are very fortunate to see other wildlife and have spectacular surroundings while on the water.

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