Whale Watching

We’re not all about the bears, whales are abundant here too!

Killer whales and humpback whales are often seen during our wildlife tours. There are resident whales and transient whales that can be seen feeding and playing in our waters.

Sea Otter Sightings

The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.

Humpback Whale Identification

ID’s of the local whales

We are fortunate to have dedicated colleges and societies in our area such as the Marine Education and Research Society. The Humpback Whales in our area are identified by both the underside of the fluke and the dorsal region. Unique pigmentation, shapes and markings allow these animals to be positively identified and catalogued. We know that the majority of the whales in our area migrate to Hawaii to mate and have their calves before returning to the colder, richer waters of British Columbia to feed. This is a familiar whale is named “Lucky”. The scaring you see is from escaping an Orca attack when she was younger. She has grown from when she was likely attacked as a calf, so the scrapes (rake marks) from the Orca teeth appear wider apart then they should, but this is just because she has grown. So wonderful to have so many of these amazing animals back in our waters.

A Whale’s Tail

humpback whales feeding

Over the past seven years our whale watching area has become a feeding area for humpback whales. In the past we were lucky it see one whale on a viewing day while now if we do not see to eight or ten different whales we think it is a slow day. The feeding aspect means there is also lunge feeding, much diving with good tail shows as well as breaching that is very hard to catch on camera.

Wildlife Babies 5 of 5

black bear cubs

Early June, so less than six months old and we find two black bear cubs while on the trip up Knight Inlet to view grizzly bears. Although we go on a specialized black bear trip on your first evening in the lodge we frequently see black bears while on the grizzly bear and whales watching tours as well as the trip to Trapper Rick’s.

Wildlife Babies 4 of 5

bald eagles soaring

Bald eagles are only achieve their white headed between three and five years and prior to that they are able to sit in trees unnoticed. When soaring high an immature eagle is a little more noticeable. Still majestic with their wing span but something is missing.

Wildlife Babies 3 of 5

baby orca in a slip stream

One of my best and again luck dominates skill. I knew the orca was going to pass beneath the boat but did not know that its calf would be traveling in mother’s slip stream. The baby swims close to its mother and can be carried in the a type of hydrodynamic wake, which develops as the mother swims. This helps the baby swim with less energy and enables the mother and calf to keep up with the pod.


Wildlife Babies 1 of 5

humpback whale calf

Humpback whales migrate to tropical or subtropical water in the winter to breed and give birth in February and March. By the time the whales return to our viewing areas the calf’s are close to four months old and still on their mother’s milk. This calf is a larger and therefore in it’s second year. These calves are normally very active frequently seen breaching and lobbtailing.



Bald eagle swimming with a salmon

Bald eagle swimmingBald eagle with salmon

Seeing a bald eagle swim is not a common sight on our wildlife tours maybe once or twice a summer. But this morning we saw three take a salmon to shore. An eagle will catch a fish in their talon that is too heavy for them to carry and they will swim to shore with it so they can eat it. They use a butterfly like swim stroke. In the first photo it is almost to the shore and the second show the eagle lifting the fish further up the shore. In this case its mate came down and took the salmon, as it was to exhausted to fight. The happy ending was that it did get to share the fish once it recovered.

Rest stop on whale watching safari

telegraph cove bc



This is the entrance to Telegraph Cove, which is located on Vancouver Island. It is two and half-hours north of Campbell River by car over a good paved road. Tour days from the lodge often last eight hours so it is good to have a “civilized” bathroom to use and Telegraph Cove serves that purpose. Also provides a short break from being on the water and possibly a hot coffee, latte or hot chocolate.

Its a Tough Office

Beautiful morning, with a boat fishing on Johnstone Strait.  This area is frequented by the Northern Resident Killer whales in the summer, who are after the same thing as this fisherman (salmon).  On a day like this its hard to beat it.