A Whale of a Time! – 9/02

When I first looked at the brochure for Vancouver Whale Watch, I saw people sitting in a small boat and pod of orcas swimming by extremely close. I was sure that the whales would never come that close to a boat, certainly not mine. I was so wrong.

I took my first ever whale watching trip last Sunday with Vancouver Whale Watch in an open zodiac boat. We left at about 10 am with absolutely no idea how the day would turn out. We headed south on a tip from other boats that there were some orcas down there. After about two hours we had seen about 10 different porpoises, a mix of Dall’s, Harbour and hybrids as well as a ton of Harbour Seals. They were all hauled out on the rocks because of the low tide and I could see pups. We continued heading south and I started concentrating more on staying warm then finding whales! We finally reached our destination just past the south tip of the San Juan Island in Juan de Fuca Straight and we were surrounded by Killer Whales! All three pods of the Southern Residents, which make about 80 very large animals in total. They swan all around us. I saw many behaviours including breaches, tail slaps and spy hops. There was a hydrophone on the boat so we could hear every noise they made including echolocation clicking noises and other orca vocalizations. At one point the hydrophone got very loud and we realized there was a whale heading right for us! She dived underneath the boat but was still so close you see her eye and saddle patches from about the water. After this happened again with a second whale and we saw a few calves with their mothers we decided to head for home leaving the SRKWs foraging. An incredible and memorable first whale watching trip and definitely not my last!


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