Category   Whalewatching: Vancouver Island & BC Gulf Islands
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There is no seagoing experience quite like watching, close-up, a sleek whale weighing thousands of pounds frolic like a child in it's natural habitat. Up and down the coast of Vancouver Island, from Victoria to Port Hardy and the BC Gulf Islands, Orcas (killer whales), Gray whales and Humpback whales ply the waves and perform their watery rituals. Whalewatching at its best!

Click for a larger version of the Whale Watching map.Whatever else you do on Vancouver Island, don't miss the whale watching boat - you'll have a tale of a whale to tell. Click the map for a larger version of the map to see where whale watching is offered, or select a town below to view whale watching companies in that area.

Whale Watching by Region: Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands
North Vancouver Island
Central Vancouver Island
South Vancouver Island
Gulf Islands & Discovery Islands
Pacific Rim (West Coast)
Sunshine Coast of BC

Whale Watching by Town: Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands
Alert Bay
Barkley Sound

Broughton Archipelago
Campbell River
Cortes Island
Desolation Sound
Esperanza Inlet
Johnstone Strait
Nootka Sound
Nuchatlitiz Inlet
Port Hardy
Port McNeill

Port Renfrew
Quadra Island
Telegraph Cove

Whale Watching by Inlet northeast of Vancouver Island
Bute Inlet
Kingcome Inlet
Knight Inlet
Toba Inlet

Whale Watching in other Regions of British Columbia
Whale Watching in Vancouver, Queen Charlotte Islands, and Prince Rupert in Northern BC (Whalewatching on

Orcas (Killer Whales): B.C's killer whale population is divided into 2 distinct groups which, curiously, never mingle. Residents travel in large pods within predictable ranges, and feed primarily on fish. Transients roam in smaller groups over large areas of the coast, feeding on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and other whales. The resident orca population is divided into 2 communities, each with its own geographical range. The ocean around Victoria is home to the southern resident community of 3 pods totalling approximately 90 magnificent animals. The best viewing time is from May to October, although marine tours go out year round. You may see transient orcas, resident minke whales, migrating gray and humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbour porpoises, Dall's porpoises and a plethora of harbour seals, California sea lions, Steller's sea lions and elephant seals.

At the north end of Vancouver Island, some transient orcas and migrating gray whales and humpback whales, which entertain with their acrobatic breaching and underwater songs, may appear at any time of the year. The northern residents total 217 whales in 16 pods, which patrol the Johnstone Strait and the waters of northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast. The transient killer whales comprise 30 small pods of about 160 whales and travel much farther than the resident pods. Johnstone Strait and the Blackfish Archipelago is the prime whale-watching territory at the north end of Vancouver Island. More than a dozen whale-watching tours operate out of Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay, Sointula and Telegraph Cove. There are also companies in Campbell River.

Pacific Gray Whales migrate north along the west coast of the island during March and April. They are easily accessible by boat or can be viewed from mounted telescopes in the Long beach area. Over 20,000 Gray whales participate in the longest migration of any animal, some stop to feed and rest in our protected bays, while 40 to 50 grays will spend their summers feeding off Vancouver Island.

Humpback Whales will thrill you to the north of Vancouver Island, at the outer edges of the Inside Passage, with their acrobatic behaviour and elaborate underwater song. Treasure lifetime memories of these magnificent whales breaching within metres of your boat.

Minke whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals and Steller‘s sea lions are also viewed in the waters around Vancouver Island.

Pacific Rim Whale Festival
Whale Watching Guidelines

For more information on BC visit

Victoria Campbell River Port HardyBamfieldSookeFrench Beach and China BeachTofinoUclueletPort McNeillAlert Bay and Telegraph CoveSidney

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