Contact Us

Vancouver Island

Home Page

An amazing diversity of wildlife, both marine and terrestrial, awaits you on Vancouver Island, a short flight or ferry ride from the picturesque city of Vancouver. The Pacific Ocean dominates the landscape and provides the best wildlife viewing opportunities with almost all viewing conducted from boats. The island has some of the best whale watching anywhere in the world, and is one of the best places in North American to see Black Bears and Bald Eagles. Most human habitation is in the southern part of the island where the elegant and picturesque city of Victoria evokes memories of British Columbia's colonial past in its architecture and ambience, leaving the less populated north and remote west coast still largely the domain of the animal kingdom.

The north east of the island offers the most convenient access to Johnstone Strait, core habitat of the 16 resident Orca pods that frequent BC's coastal waters, as well as to a number of premier Grizzly Bear locations on adjacent Lower Mainland BC, most notably world famous Knight Inlet. The "resident" Orcas feed exclusively on the abundant Pacific Salmon in the area, and are the most studied whale population in the world. On a whale watching trip with one of the excellent and very knowledgeable local operators you may also encounter passing "transient" Orcas which have some anatomical differences to the "residents" and live in smaller pods, are less, vocal, and prey instead on other marine mammals. The area is also frequented by Pacific Whitesided Dolphins, Dall's Porpoise, Seals, Sea Lions, and occasionally Humpback and Minke Whales. For those possessed of a more adventurous spirit a sea kayak provides a less intrusive platform from which to view these magnificent creatures, making you feel completely integrated into the marine habitat, and kayaking and wilderness camping expeditions of varying lengths in Johnstone Strait and nearby Blackfish Sound can be arranged.

The west coast plays host to 20,000 Gray Whales on their northward migration from Mexico to Alaska between March and May, some of which stop and spend the whole summer feeding and resting in the protected bays around the picturesque seaside communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, where there are a number of well established whale watching operations. Humpback Whales are also frequent visitors, and Orca and Minke Whales are also sometimes encountered in the area. Remote Clayoquot Sound has some of the most pristine old growth rainforest to be found anywhere in North America, and offers unparalleled opportunities to view Black Bears foraging on the shoreline at low tide. Pacific Rim National Park boats an excellent network of self-guided walking trails that showcase the area's rugged coastline and birdlife, and the nearby Broken Islands Group is a paradise for boaters and sea kayakers, as well as a haven for Sea Lions and Sea Otters.

Vancouver Island is more than just a wildlife destination though, being popular with outdoor pursuits, scuba diving and sport fishing enthusiasts alike, and providing a spectacular wilderness backdrop to any activity. It also offers excellent accommodation options making it a great destination for those wanting to combine a genuine wilderness experience with all of the comforts you would expect of major metropolitan centre.

The island is also home to a sizeable aboriginal community, and is at the forefront of the vibrant Pacific Northwest native art scene. On the west coast the Nuu-chah-nulth were noted seafarers and builders of magnificent ocean going canoes. Their traditional lifestyle revolved around the forest and the ocean. The cedar tree provided the raw materials for their longhouses and the dugout canoes, and even their woven bark clothing, and they fearlessly hunted great whales from their canoes. Unsurprisingly marine wildlife figures prominently in their culture. The east coast was home to both Coast Salish and Kwagiulth or Kwakwaka'wakw ("those who speak Kwakwala") bands, and many communities still occupy their traditional territories. As with all aboriginal groups they have a strong and altruistic bond with, and deep respect for nature, particularly the animals they co-existed with, and hunted.

Lower Mainland

 Central Mainland

Central Coast

 Northern BC

Manitoba

 Nunavut (Arctic)

Canada Home Page

When to Travel

 What You Can See

Your Tour

 Contact Us

Accommodation

 Links

Photo Gallery
        

Holiday Canada

Holidays Sri Lanka

Wildlife Trails

Jaguar Trails

Alaska Bears

Client Photos

Arctic Cruise

Alaska Bear Viewing