Both Resident orcas and Transiet orcas are distinguished by their huge dorsal fins, some protruding as much as 2 meters (6 feet) above the water.
Our Pacific Coast is also home to Minke, Gray, and Humpback whales. While not as common and as 'showy' as our orcas, they are nevertheless just as impressive. These whales can be found most any time of the year- as contrasted by many orca pods who disappear mysteriously during the late fall and return in the early spring.
OTHER MARINE LIFE:
The Oak Bay are features two marine conservation areas, each home to large colonies of seals and sea birds. You can also encounter sea lions, dolphins and porpoises as well as raptors such as ospreys and eagles throughout these Gulf Island waters.
We have two species of sea lions on our coasts: the brown coloured Stelars and the black California sea lions. The Stellar sea lions are by far the larger, weighing more than 1,000 kg (2000 + pounds) - more than twice the size of their southern cousins. These brown levithians, both male and female can be found here year around. Only male Californian sea lions however come north to our area to winter, leaving their female counterparts to look after their young back on the breeding grounds of the Baha Peninsula. A popular spot to view both species is at Race Rocks, just 45 minutes south of Victoria by boat.
The waters around Victoria are home to many varieties of whales and the success ratio of seeing them is extremely high (over 75%) during the summer months. Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) are among the more plentiful, numbering some 80 whales in three pods. In addition there are substantial numbers of the more elusive 'transients' - a species of Killer Whales who difference is primarily that of language and diet. For example, Transients hunt only mammalian prey such as seals and sea lions - as opposed to salmon and other fish pursued by Resident Whales. Another major difference is that Transient Killer Whales by virtue of their land-based prey, can usually be seen near shorelines and hunting in smaller packs seldom exceeding four.
Whale Watching/Sailing Package: If you want to make sure of seeing whales on your trip to the West Coast, we can arrange for a transfer to a whale watching boat from our sail boat from any one of a number of anchorages in Oak Bay (or other Gulf Islands), or if more convenient, to be picked up by the whale watching boat from our base at Oak Bay Marina. This whale watching option (featuring discounted prices) can be undertaken: after having completed your sail with us or on any other day which might be more convenient to you.
Our partner in whale watching is SpringTide Whale Watching. They are a reputable company featuring experienced drivers that have a good knowledge and respect for whales. You will be given a "rain check" in the event you don't see whales. Springtide is based out of Victoria's Inner Harbour . You have a choice of going on their 12 person zodiacs or on their 61 foot Ocean Cruiser, the Marauder 1V. And yes, all their boats feature hydrophones to enble you to listen to the whales.
Whale Watching Prices If you reserve through us (and have taken either our sailing kayaking or motor launch trips of Oak Bay) we can offer you the following discounted w.w. prices : $75. for adults, $65. for Teens and $60. for children (plus tax).
Kayaking/Giant Canoe Options: If you desire a more intimate experience with the ocean and marine wildlife, then after sailing with us, join us on one of our sea kayaking or Giant Canoe motor vessel excursions to the islands .
Our vessel, the "Aquitania" vessel (left) was hand built by the tour operator and at 45' is currently the largest cedar strip vessel of its kind. Its shallow draft allows it to go where only kayaks "fear to tread".