Victoria Whale Watching: Intimate with Orcas

An essential experience when visiting Vancouver Island is whale watching because in addition to humpback whales and sea lions, these waters are home to orcas, aka killer whales. And if you’re really lucky, you just might spot otters, puffin, or bald eagles. I thank Eagle Wing Tours for hosting us on a morning excursion aboard their 50 person catamaran. As always, all opinions are my own.

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I sought out Eagle Wing Tours because they are the top rated adventure outfitter on TripAdvisor, and they didn’t disappoint. During the 4 hour outing, we saw a humpback whale, two orcas and a sea lion who gave us quite the show as he was chomping down on fish. The onboard naturalist brings so much value to the experience, as they provide expertise on the animals we are observing; diet, behaviors, and really fascinating facts that give you a deeper appreciate these creatures. For instance, we learned that there is a portion of the brain, unique to orcas, that is associated with relationships. It explains why they are highly social and travel in pods. Families are matriarchal and family members stay together forever. Orca mourn their dead and often remain with their deceased loved ones for days.

I let the professionals with the telephoto lenses capture the wildlife. Naturalist, Peter Zelen, right, shares his orca insight.

What I love about Eagle Wing is their commitment to the environment. They are the first carbon neutral whale watching company in Canada and they participate in “1% For the Planet” which means that 1% of their sales is donated to environmental programs. ​

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It’s a thrilling experience to see these creatures in their natural habitat. Learning from the naturalist gives you a new appreciation for the whales and their survival. I’m so pleased that Eagle Wing advocates for wildlife and educates the public on the issues they face.

This experience just whet my appetite for Vancouver Island wildlife and if my trip wasn’t coming to an end, I’d have considered another tour in search of all the other species we missed.