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Mt. Baker

Best time for Orcas

We often get asked what time of day is best to see whales, and we explain that there isn’t really a “best time” to see whales. Everyday differs from the last and one day’s morning cruise may turn up super active whales but in the afternoon we find them sleeping. The whale watching companies work so well together to ensure that all of our guests are provided with the best experience possible on that day, but as one guest said, “every time you go out, it is a risk.”  That being said this summer has been so great for us  with the combination of great weather and Resident and Transient Orcas, Humpbacks, Minkes, and all the other marine wild life that we see. Now is the best time to see whales!

Sunsets and Whales

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Enjoying the sunset with J Pod

So there isn’t really a “best” time to see whales, but we do have a favourite time of day to get out on the water. Whether we are doing a tour or just out in our own boat, going out for a cruise during the evening is our favourite time to be on the water. At this time it tends to be a little quieter (less boats), the lighting is great for photography, and it’s a beautiful sight as you catch the sun setting as you cruise back into Sidney.

Supermoon, Sunset and Whales

Supermoon Sunday, we were able to take the night off of work and head out on the water about an hour before sunset. We left Sidney and had a nice cruise through Boundary Pass and ended up with the whales just off of Saturna Island. We tried our best to will the whales to swim past us with the sun in the background to get some good pictures, but apparently these animals have minds of their own! We stayed out until the sun was almost completely downIMG_8007 and the water was being lit up by the moom. It was an amazing sight to see. Even with the bright light of the moon, after the sun had set the whales were extremely hard to spot. We sat with our motors off, not speaking, just listening. All around us we could hear the blows of travelling orcas. It was incredible to just sit and listen to the passing whales without being able to see them, but also a bit eerie. We have been lucky enough to see orcas and humpbacks breaching, tail slapping, spy hopping, and doing all they amazing stuff they do, but Sunday evening may have been the best orca experience we have had since we started doing this.

Oyster Catcher

Oyster Catcher

 

Orcas, Seals, and Birds

We have had some pretty incredible days this summer with weather and whales, but I think Thursday may have been one of the best so far. Our morning tour started off with J Pod just off of Sidney and we were able to hang out with them until they passed Saturna Island on their way to the Fraser River. It’s amazing how fast these animals can swim when they are in search of salmon. We started to return to Sidney with a quick stop at Java Rocks to check out the array of birds that reside there. On any given day you have the opportunity to see Rhino Aucklets, Pigeon Guillimonts, Oyster Catchers and Bonaparte Gulls. If you are lucky enough you also might see some seals hauled out of the water basking in the sun. A great way to start the day.

Transient OrcasIMG_7841

In the waters off of Sidney we tend to see two types of Orcas. One type is our Resident Orcas (J,K and L Pods). These are the salmon eating Orcas. The second type are Transient Orcas. This eco-type eats marine mammals like harbour seals, harbour and Dall’s porpoises and Steller sea lions and tend to travel in smaller groups (2-6) as compared to the resident pods (20+ in each family group). We were able to spend our afternoon tour with these animals watching as the chased down lunch. They all work together by diving around, over and under their prey, hitting them from above and below and hitting them their their heads. It’s a pretty incredible thing to watch if you have stomach for it!

Resident Orcas

IMG_7526The final trip of our evening was spent with part of K pod of our Resident Orcas. These animals return to our waters every year from about May until October. Their diet consists mostly of salmon and they spend much of their time foraging for food. When they are not eating or sleeping, these very social animals can be found breaching, spy hopping, tail slapping, and playing around with each other. It’s amazing to watch and we count ourselves lucky every time we get to be a part of the show that these amazing Orcas put on! The evening trips are a favourite of ours during the summer. It tends to be quieter on the water, the lighting is great for photography and we love returning to Sidney as the sun is setting.

Best Wild Life Photos

We have had so many great photo opportunities with the marine life in the Salish Sea the past two months that we think that it would be unfair if we didn’t share with everyone. So please enjoy our best wild life photos of the summer so far.IMG_0731

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Best Humpback Photos

We were lucky enough to enjoy two beautiful days in July hanging out with some magnificent Humpback Whales. We are always so grateful to be able to see this huge animals come through out waters in the middle of the summer.IMG_7281IMG_7285

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Best Orca Photos

We don’t really like to play favourites, but these incredible animals often overshadow some of the other marine wild life that we see. But I am sure you can IMG_1004understand why after seeing some of these pictures! Our best photos seem to come from our 5:00pm tours. The lighting lends itself well to photographs and the whales quite often put on a show. These are our best orca photos so far this summer. I am sure there will be more IMG_7513to come as August come upon us.

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J Pod Arrives

JumpWe received a great Mother’s Day gift with the arrival of Granny and J Pod in May. They have continued to grace us with their presence over the last two and half months and have provided us with many great photo opportunities and experiences for our guests. They have been joined over the last month by K and L Pods. We look forward to an August as beautiful as July and more opportunities to enjoy the marine life that we encounter in the Salish Sea. We have been very lucky so far this summer and have had only one day in the last 45 days without seeing whales.

Super Pod Days

breachWe always count ourselves lucky whenever we are able to be out on the water during a Super Pod day. Super Pod is what we call it when our three resident orca families (J, K and L) get together to socialize, mate, and generally have a good time. With over 80 whales in the area, they always put on a great show and remind us again why we love our job so much.

Whales and Wine

Saturna Island WineryWe had the privilege of celebrating the marriage of two great people, Ashley and Nick, this past weekend. Nick’s family had come in from England, Korea, and New York for the wedding and Ashley and Nick wanted to show them what we have to offer here in beautiful Sidney, BC. We departed Sidney on a beautiful sunny morning and were able to join up with J and K Pods just off Saturna Island. We were able to spend a few hours watching these amazing animals breaching, spy hopping, tail slapping, and possibly mating! After that was a short trip to Saturna Island Winery where we enjoyed an afternoon of wine tasting, lunch, and great views. An amazing way to celebrate an amazing couple. We wish Ashley and Nick many wonderful years to come and thank them for letting us help celebrate their special day.

 

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Sidney Whale Watching is a family run company and has been serving Sidney for over 15 years. We love what we do and we're positive that you will have a great experience with us.

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