Go whale-watching off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia
Edited by Maria, Jonathan, JMA, Graeme and 4 others
Right in front of the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel on Victoria's waterfront, you will find the Prince of Whales whale-watching tours. I took their 3 hour Zodiac tour on my first visit to Victoria. This is one of the most exciting ways to discover the rich and exotic wildlife of the Haro and Juan de Fuaca straits. This strip of ocean has 3 resident pods of Orcas, formerly and inaccurately known as Killer Whales, so sightings of the creatures are virtually guaranteed. The Orcas in these 3 pods can be easily identified by their natural markings. Crew members provide photos to help know who is who. When I went out, we saw Ruffles a 55 year old bachelor male Orca and his 90 something mother breaching near the boat! To go on this trip, you start by donning a red, one piece waterproof suit, gloves and toque before climbing into the zodiac raft and whooshing across the water. In addition to orcas, we saw bald eagles and sealions. Humpback, Gray and Minke whales also pass through these waters. Zodiac rides can be quite bumpy and are not recommended for passengers with back problems. You can also get quite copiously splashed depending on where you sit but that is part of the fun. For a more sedate viewing experience the company also offers boat trips.
Other worthy whale-watching spots
- 1Alaska.Whales can be seen best during summer but they could also be seen during the spring. Excellent locations are at Ketchikan And in Angoon. At the Favourite Bay Lodge in Angoon, whales could be seen from the lodge or you could arrange for a cruise.Advertisement
- 2Iceland.Excellent whale watching on beautifully restored sea vessels at northeast Iceland.Advertisement
- 3Scotland.Excellence in wildlife watching. Not only minke whales but also porpoises, dolphins, and also basking sharks. Visit from Mid-June to end of September.
- 4Azores.The waters surrounding the nine islands of the Azores are favorite grounds for 20 species of dolphins and whales. Blue whales, orcas, spotted and striped dolphins are aplenty between April and September.
- 5New Zealand.The south New Zealand island town of Kaikoura abounds in sperm whales and several species of dolphins. There is also a big chance to spot the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, The Hector's dolphin, native only to New Zealand.
- 6California.The rich feeding grounds at the Sea of Cortex just off California, is home to the grey whale. But the cruise operators there, to heed the law, advise their guests to stay 100 yards away from the whales. The Blue whales or the Humpback whales could be seen off the central coast of California - from Point Reyes to the Santa Barbara Channel.
- 7Norway.In the magical Lofoten islands far to the north, It is a great place to spot killer whales just after a one hour boat ride from the shore. You'll want to visit between the end of October and mid-January for optimal viewing.
- 8South Africa.There are 1,200 miles of whale route from Cape Town to Durban. There are several species of whales and dolphins and they could even be spotted along the shore on the route. The best known spot is Hermanus where the Hermanus Whale Festival is held every year. June to November, you get the best sighting possibilities.
- 9Bais City, central Philippines.This city, located in the central Philippine province of Negros Oriental, is an important eco-tourism spot for its country. From Bais Bay to Tanon Strait, there are 9 different species of whales and dolphins that abound. March to October are the best times for whale-watching.Advertisement
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