Whale watching and winter don’t seem like they would have anything in common, but on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the two go together like peas in a pod! In fact, from February to April an incredible number of whales are passing through the area. This is the time of great gray whale migration as they endure their journey from Mexico all the way to the Artic. Nearly 20,000 whales swing by the coast with their babies on their way to feed. What does that mean for us Vancouver Islander’s? Two things.
- Fantastic Whale Watching
- The Pacific Rim Whale Festival
Even from the shores, you are able to spot the puffs, backs, tails and occasionally, fins and bodies of these humble giants as they pop up to breathe, dive deep or breach. With their babies in tow, a smaller mist will often come to surface as they learn the whale ways of the ocean. Both Ucluelet and Tofino’s whale watching companies are back in full swing for the migration, so it’s a great time to book a whale watching tour to get out and see these creatures up close!
For the thirty-second year in a row, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival is back on to play cheerleader and celebrate these animals on their migration. Both Tofino and Ucluelet celebrate not just for a day, or even a week, but two whole weeks! Throughout the days there are numerous events that take place, all based on a west coast theme. From the opening parade on March 10th, to the tug-o-war and chowder chowdown, there are plenty of goings-on to entice locals and visitors to emerge from hibernation. More than just a party, the festival also invites keynote speakers to educate about topics important to the coast. This includes First Nations traditions and events, as well as talks about conservation and the environment. Taking the time to learn about the delicate ecosystem we call home is cause for celebration enough!
It’s easy to see that here on the coast, there really is a place for winter and whale watching to go hand-in-hand. Book a whale watching tour to cheer on the whales from the ocean, or partake in a favourite local pastime – you’ll be surprised at just how amazing the west coast of Vancouver Island is in the winter.
Excited to visit the coast for the festival? Check out our Winter Whale Watching Adventure package for Ucluelet, B.C.! We’ll take care of all the hard parts, all you need to do is show up and enjoy the festivities!
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk