Whale Watching in Vancouver: Why it's so Spectacular

Did you know the first whale watching tours in the world began in Vancouver? In the early 1900s, organized boat excursions took tourists to see the humpback whales in Howe Sound. Unfortunately, this early whale watching venture ended as the whaling industry decimated the humpback whale populations here. Over the last hundred years, our humpback whales have rebounded, and Vancouver’s rich whale watching history has made it one of the best places in the world to view these beautiful animals.

Killer whales Vancouver whale watching
Three killer whales spotted during whale watching trip in Vancouver

Protecting these animals and ecosystems are the top priority at Seabreeze Adventures, which is why the thoughtfully developed whale watching regulations here in Vancouver are always followed. Our vessels are designed with the whales in mind, as well. When choosing which whale watching company and vessel to spend your day with, keep in mind that smaller vessels like our 12-person Zodiac or our 23-person Semi-enclosed vessels are ideal for an immersive and respectful experience. Larger whale watching vessels that can seat close to 100 people could be more disruptive for these magnificent animals, and your experience will be less personalized.

Our trip on August 4th, 2023, was an example of why you want to choose Vancouver as your whale watching destination. It was one of those lucky trips where we saw everything from roaring sea lions, to pec-slapping humpbacks, to sleepy killer whales.

First, we spotted a mishmash of several different killer whale pods that had been spending time together in the Salish Sea over the last few days. As these are some of the most studied whales in the world, your naturalist will likely be able to tell you the names of the killer whales you find on your trip. On this day, fan favourite T002C1 “Rocky” and the mischievous T65A5 “Indy” were enjoying the crystal clear waters with the T036 pod.

Later in the trip, we encountered some vocal Steller Sea Lions that had plenty to say. These animals are always photogenic, so remember to bring your camera!

sea lions whale watching Richmond BC
A group of Steller sea lions

Finally, a humpback surprised us on the way home with some stunning pectoral-slaps! Humpback whales have the largest pectoral fins of any whale species, and they’re the longest appendage of any living animal on land or sea.

humpback whale pec slapping vancouver whale watch
A humpback whale pec-slapping in Vancouver, BC

We’re very fortunate to see all three of these animals here in the Salish Sea, as hunting, overfishing, and habitat destruction devastated their populations in the 20th century. Major conservation efforts have allowed their populations to rebound, and Seabreeze Adventures is dedicated to ensuring these animals have a healthy environment to live in. So come join us for an environmentally-minded tour, and see why the Salish Sea is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Thanks to all who joined Captain Luke and Naturalist Jade. Some photos/videos were taken using a Canon camera with a telescopic lens and cropping.

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