Friday, August 23, 2013

Whale Watching with Eagle Wing Tours

Today was my day to explore the ever changing Fisherman’s Wharf.  I got their early in the morning when it was quiet, but it did not stay that way for long.  By noon, it was teaming with tourists and locals in for a bite to eat.  The first business that I visited was Eagle Wing Tours.  They offer a number of specialty tours but I signed up for a 3.5 hour whale watching tour.  Our group loaded onto the “Gold Wing” a 60’ long powerful and highly manoeuvrable boat that can get you to the action quickly.  There were 28 comfortable seats on the open style boat and everyone had a great view of the action.  The boat has a below deck toilet and more than enough safety equipment.  The ride was thrilling at top running speed and our affable and humorous Captain Brett Soberg did a great job of putting us in the action while fallowing all the rules.   Brett’s strategy took to the ecological reserve of race rocks where there was plenty of wild life to see.  We watched Stellar and California sea lions basking in the sun and growling at the nearby boats.  Many very large ones swam near our boat to check us out or give us the evil eye for invading their territory.  There were also a number of harbour seals and all kinds of sea birds everywhere in the reserve.  The views there are incredible, so we were really fortunate to have time to stop there.  We waited there for the whales coming into Juan de Fuca Strait to get to where we were and then we followed them all the way back to Victoria.
The strategy was let them come to us and that is exactly what they did.  We even had a couple of large Orcas swim right under the boat and surface very close to us.  They were very active on the surface.  We observed tail slapping, flipper flapping, spy-hopping (where they come straight up to check us out), lunges, and the spectacular breach (where they jump right out of the water.  The water was flat, the sky was blue, and the whales were active and the passengers ecstatic!  Most of the people on board had never been whale watching, so they likely had no idea how spectacular a day this was.   Our tour was for 3.5 hours and I am sure it was closer to 4.  The only run time was on the way out to Race Rocks (10 nautical miles) and then about 5 minutes from Clover Point to the Inner Harbour.  Most days the whales are much further away.  We were indeed very lucky and we had an excellent team on board showing us around “whale land”.  Derrick Sterling the biologist on board was very knowledgeable and provided lots of very useful information.  When we headed into the dock, we were one of the last boats near the whales.  Job well done guys.  If you looking for a good time whale watching you certainly want to consider these guys.


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