For my dad’s birthday this year, rather than have a big party, my dad wanted to spend some quality time with the family. With this request in mind, my mom drove down the beautiful Cowichan Bay, on Vancouver Island and booked a whale watching tour with Ocean Ecoventures.
We arrived at the storefront location, which doubles as an art gallery, and were provided with full-body, wind proof, Helly Hansen flotation suits for the day’s adventure. It was the first really hot day of the summer so the need for the suits didn’t seem to make sense, but once we were out and speeding across the water I was grateful to have it.
Once suited up, we made our way down to the zodiac was moored and were given a quick but detailed safety lesson for the trip by Simon Pidcock, owner/operator of Ocean Ecoventures. Before taking off, he took this group shot!
We barely left the harbour when we caught our first glimpse of ocean wildlife. A harbour seal swam by about twenty feet from the boat!
After about a 45 minute boat ride (with gorgeous B.C. views), we arrived to an area where the orcas tend to hang out and play around. Simon told us of all kinds of interesting facts, behaviours and statistics about the whales. He was very knowledgeable and much of the information was astounding!
Whales were not the only wildlife we saw on the trip. After watching and following the orcas for a couple of hours, we headed back to Cowichan Bay. He took us into a kelp bed, where he showed us that kelp is amazingly strong, and that it has an unbelievable growth rate, as well as many benefits to the ocean and its’ creatures. We even took a kelp leaf out of the water and ate it. Yep, it’s edible!
Other creatures we came across were several bald eagles as well as a bald eagle nest, a couple of ospreys and their nest of young, and of course a lot of seals hanging out on the logs.
All in all we had an AMAZING experience! Unreal photographic opportunities! And we were lucky with phenomenal weather!
If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island and are looking for a fun adventure in the Cowichan Valley, an Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching tour with Simon Pidcock should definitely be on your itinerary!
A few tips for your trip:
- Bring your best camera and best zoom/telephoto lens for the trip. I was afraid my gear would get wet, so I left it behind, but not a drop of water made it inside the boat! (*kicking myself!*)
- Wear SUNSCREEN! Even on a cloudy day you are susceptible to sunburn.
- Bring sunglasses and a hat to wear while floating around watching the whales.
- Wear closed toed shoes.
- Bring a bottle of water.
- Ask lots of questions, Simon knows his stuff!
Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching is located at:
1721 Cowichan Bay Road, Cowichan Bay
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Local – 250 748 3800
Toll Free – 1 866 748 5333