Habitation to thousands of marine and terrestrial wildlife, the west coast of British Columbia stretches almost 1000 kilometers of fertile coastline and temperate rainforest from Victoria on Vancouver Island to the border of Alaska.
Owned and operated by Roger Obayashi, Wild Whales, and taken care by a number of knowledgeable biologists and naturalists, is the only dedicated whaling tour operating in Vancouver. They have a number of different tours that leave daily, including open-air and covered jet boats conveniently located on Granville Island. If one’s feeling venturesome, the open-air is definitely the way to go – it gives a much more “lively” feel to the experience and not only is it thrilling to be exposed to the elements, as the boat skips across the waves of the Georgia Strait and navigates through the many maze-like archipelagos and islands that comprises geography of the Gulf Islands (ranging in size and shape from Pender Island all the way down to the San Juan Islands, there are almost 400 different islands).
There’s a lot more to the experience aside from the well-promoted “whale watching,” – lucky for visitors, the guide is actually a naturalist which has a wealth of information in connection with the history and landscape of the area, other marine life in the area, and provides their own personal stories about living and studying marine life.
Widely known as “killer whales”– upon arrival of the boat on one of the three resident orca pods in the region – it will be well worth the wait, and enough to elicit the wonderment from everyone on board. Killer whales require air as their mammals, and will breach the surface with their smooth black dorsal fins, sometimes to take a look around, they slap their flukes on the water or popping their heads up. Killer whales graceful surge forms belong to a species that have, like wolves, encounter a spurious reputation as ‘murderous killers’ – they are predators, but to many people’s surprise, these mammals are generally pliant behavior, and as facilitators, Wild Whales takes its role to educate guests on all aspects of orca behavior.
This comprises the fact that orca has actual teeth, unlike baleen species (the likes of humpback and blue whales who possess plates they used to strain krill). Because they can travel great distances, getting a glimpse of them differ from day to day – their maximum speed can be more than 50 kilometers per hour. However, they control the contact to an hour at a time and always staying at least 100 meters back because Wild Whales is a devoted partner of the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) that implements a strong philosophy and practice of respecting orcas in their natural habitat.