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whale watching from vancouver or vancouver island

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Dublin
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72 posts
128 reviews
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whale watching from vancouver or vancouver island

dont have time on our sides and we are stayin in vancouver for a few nigths before heading on a road trip to see the rockies, would we be missing out if we went on a whale watching trip from vancouver instead of making the trip over to vancouver island

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: whale watching from vancouver or vancouver island

Not at all. The whale watching companies that leave from Vancouver Island (mostly in Victoria), are going to the exact same spots where the companies in Vancouver are going. If you're going to be in Vancouver and you're not going to Vancouver Island, there's absolutely no point going to Vancouver Island to go whale watching. It will only cost you more time and money (ie: it takes 3 hours to get to Victoria from Vancouver once the drive/ferry is involved).

I explained this to a friend of mine from Liverpool the other week and explained it like this: Image there's a pod of whales that live off the coast of Wales and east of Dublin. It doesn't matter if you leave from Wales or Dublin, you're still going to the same spot in the water to see the whales. If you're only spending 2 days in Dublin, there's no point taking a ferry out to Wales if you're going to end up in the same spot in the water! :)

This is the same case with whale watching trips going to see orcas here in BC. There are three pods of whales in the Strait of Georgia (the body of water between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland). Generally the whales swim in large circles over the course of a day. They could be anywhere, from the southern tip of Vancouver Island, to the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands, or even up near Howe Sound, just north of Vancouver. They could be anywhere during the day. The Victoria whale watching trips generally stay around the southern end of Vancouver Island and in the Gulf/San Juan Islands. The Vancouver trips also head down to the southern tip of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, but it takes a bit longer to get there. However, the companies out of Vancouver also have the advantage that they can head up to Howe Sound if that's where the whales are.

The only difference that I can see is that there are more companies on Vancouver Island, and the trips may be slightly shorter in length than the trips out of Vancouver, but they're essentially the same trip. There are still three companies located in Greater Vancouver to choose from: Vancouver Whale Watch, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures, and Wild Whales Vancouver. Generally the trips out of Vancouver take 3-5 hours. It's recommended to book ahead, because there's usually only 2 trips a day with limited seating.

I should also mention that this is strictly for orca (killer whale) watching. The west coast of Vancouver Island is much different as it's on the open Pacific, not the protected waters of the Strait of Georgia. If you're interested in grey whale watching, the only place is along the west cosat of Vancouver Island (ie: Tofino). Unfortunately it takes about 5 hours to get to Tofino from Vancouver. However, grey whales aren't as exciting to watch as orcas because they're less active on the surface. Grey whale watching would be something to do if you were in the area, but not something I would purposely seek out with such limited time.

Have fun!

Dublin
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2. Re: whale watching from vancouver or vancouver island

thanks very much, that was of great help. Will take your advice, thanks again

London
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3. Re: whale watching from vancouver or vancouver island

I agree with the advice, having just been on a trip from Vancouver, WildWhales, which i would recommend a great day out and fantastic sightings of whales jumping out of the water and later on resting in pods - absolutely brilliant! Hope you experience the same - have fun!