Winter Whale Watching Tours


The fun doesn’t stop between November to March – it just gets a little bit cooler.

Thanks to our typically mild West Coast winters, you can still enjoy a crisp, cool day on the water. Come aboard at our Victoria Harbour location and soak up the tranquility of a 3 hour winter whale watching tour along the stunning Pacific Northwest coastline lead by our knowledgeable guides.

The Salish Sea’s abundant marine wildlife that you’re likely to see includes Stellar and California Sea Llions, Harbour and Elephant Seals, Killer Whales, Otters and a variety of marine birds such as and Bald Eagles and Cormorants.

Our whale sighting guarantee is valid on all winter whale watching tours, so if you don’t get the chance to see anything, come back anytime, on us!



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.


Race Rocks is a designated Marine Protected Area. To preserve its special ecosystem of plants, animals and biological diversity, access is restricted to scientific and educational purposes.


A hub of activity day and night, the Harbour is a base for small cruise ships, float planes and recreational boats. It comes alive during summer months with festivals, music and fresh local cuisine.


950 Wharf St.

Vessel Type

Open - Zodiac

Minimum Age

Zodiacs: 6 years and up

Tour Duration

3 hours


Daily Tours

Departures - Covered

Not Available For This Tour

Level of Difficulty

Easy, suitable for all ages


November 1st - March 31st

Departures - Zodiac

12 pm


Bundle up for your winter whale watching tour! Routes vary depending on whale sightings and weather. A typical route takes us along Victoria’s scenic waterfront to Oak Bay and the Chain Islets, where we pause to watch harbour seals and seabirds. From there, we often head east to San Juan Island, or north along the Saanich Peninsula. When whale sighting reports come in, we typically alter course towards whales within range of the boat. Round trip distance is usually 50 to 80 km.

How old do you have to be to go on a tour?
Zodiacs are restricted to those who are 6 years old and above.
Is there parking near the departure dock?
Wharf Street Departures
Yes, there are pay parking lots at this office as well as street parking.
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.
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  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!
Where do I board the boat?

  • At the Harbour Air Seaplane terminal at 950 Wharf Street in Victoria, BC

What should I wear?
Dress warm! It’s always 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, and during the months of November – March long pants, sweaters, snug fitting hats and warm footwear is highly 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.
Are there bathrooms on the boat?
There are no wahroom facilites on the zodiac vessels.
What is your cancellation policy?
24-hour cancellation policy

  • 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

What's Included

  • 3 hour, 100% carbon neutral Victoria whale watching tour
  • Free hotel shuttle pick-up & drop off
  • 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)
  • Certified Marine Naturalist/Biologist on board each whale watching tour
  • Wildlife identification kits
  • Whale Sighting Guarantee
  • Snacks & soft drinks available for purchase on board covered vessel tours
  • Blankets and binoculars
  • $4 Wildlife Conservation Fee that contributes to the 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, expectant mothers, or children under the age of 6

What to bring

Sunglasses, camera, tight fitting hat, sunscreen and a sense of adventure!

Tour Rates
All Ages6+
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Tour Map



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.
  • Maintain a distance of 200 meters from killer whales and 100 meters from all other whales in Canadian and US waters
  • Operate at no more than 7 knots when within 1 km (0.65 mile) of a whale
  • Travel at the same or slower speed as the whale’s speed, and travel parallel to the direction whales are traveling
  • Limit time in the vicinity of a particular group of whales to 60 minutes
  • Respect marine protected areas by adhering to Go Slow Zones and minimum distance guidelines around rocks, landmasses, historic sites and wildlife
  • Turn off sonar, depth sounders, fish finders and other underwater transducers when in the vicinity of whales
  • Get closer without disturbing marine life by using a camera with a zoom lens