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Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Mount Prospect, IL
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Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Hello:

We are planning a trip to Vancouver Island next year-June-July. My wife gets seasick so is unable to go on any sort of whale watching boat or kayak. Where would the optimal place be on shore to see Orcas, Whales, other marine mammals?

Thank you.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

There is one place in WA State, on San Juan Island, which is Lime Kiln State Park where Orcas can be easily seen from shore.

stateparks.com/lime_kiln_point_state_park_in…

The Orcas take a 45-60 min boat ride out into Juan de Fuca Strait where the whales hang out which takes people quite a way from Victoria and makes for a 3-3.5 hour trip.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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2. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Good Luck with that-Seals & Sea Lions are commonly seen from shore but Cetaceans are a stretch.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Yep.....you could be standing on the shore looking out at the horizon for days.....more likely weeks.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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4. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Also Note that Lime Kiln State Park as mentioned is located in California.

Port Moody, Canada
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5. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Not California...Washington...still aways from Vancouver Island lol

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

:-)

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Sorry Sam...there is a Limekiln (one word) down in Big Sur in California. It's inland but it has panoramic views.

Lime Kiln ( two words) in Washington is where you can see Cetaceans from shore

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

How are you getting to Vancouver Island? Are you flying? Because otherwise it's a ferry crossing. The ferries are very calm and stable, and it's certainly not unheard of to see whales from the crossing. I've heard about the point in the SJI where people say they watch for whales. I don't know if it's any more or less common to see them there than any other number of spots around the Straights. It's all a case of being lucky.

A good place to see seals is at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, and you get lots of sea lions and birds at Race Rocks, but I'm not sure if there are any points on shore that give you a view of Race Rocks. Whales, well you just have to be lucky.

Edited: 9:13 am, February 23, 2014
Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

Whale watching from the shore is an unlikely gamble. There are a few places - Galiano Island's Bellhouse Provincial Park, Point Roberts in Washington State, Lime Kiln Park on San Juan Island, as others have suggested - where once in a while, orcas have been sighted. Now, I've been to all these places, in some of these cases numerous times, and have never seen orcas. It's not a regular occurrence, as orcas travel vast distances in the span of the day, and they take different routes every time. There are not hundreds/thousands of them either. There are only a few dozen, and they travel together in pods, so it's really an unlikely event if you do happen to be at the right place at the right time and see orcas.

However, 11 years ago I worked for a Steveston-based whale watching company (45 minutes south of Vancouver) where they'd go out in zodiacs (boats famous for their stability, which the coast guard uses, moving rapidly, cutting through waves) out into the Strait of Georgia, and the inlets between the Gulf and San Juan Islands - the protected waters, really. Sea sickness was such a rarity because there are no ocean swells. How extreme is your wife's sea sickness? Does she get sick regardless of how calm the water is? Does she get sick on lakes? Or is it something that happens when she's on the open ocean? The reason I ask is that the only way you'll guarantee whale sightings is to go on a whale watching tour, but the waters off Vancouver aren't the open ocean - there are no swells. That season that I worked at the whale watching company, I never once encountered a passenger having sea sickness. Usually if the conditions are so windy that the waves pick up, they'll cancel the tour and refund.

Edited: 11:05 pm, February 23, 2014
Port McNeill
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10. Re: Orcas and Whale Watching from Shore on Vancouver Island

For your interest here is an article highlighting Bere Point on Malolm Island off northern Vancouver Island

sointularipple.ca/2014/….Uwval71Q3qD

I have been fortunate to witness whales here on numerous occasions but I provide this link more for interest though as you could easily stay there a week in the summer and no be lucky enough to witness it.

Edited: 6:58 pm, February 24, 2014