“That was incredible!” he said with a smile as we navigated back to the dock in Ucluelet’s inner boat basin.
I love bringing family and friends on a whale watching tour with the Canadian Princess Resort. I can feel their anticipation as the Delta Cabin Cruiser makes its way through the Ucluelet Harbour. Their smiles widen when the Skipper kicks the boat into gear and speeds off into the open Pacific Ocean. The wind blows back their hair as they sit at the front of the boat, eyes peeled on the horizon anxiously looking for a distant blow hole spray of a Gray or Humpback whale.
There it was! Far in the distance we say a white spray indicating the welcomed presence of a humpback whale. When we were just further than 100 metres from the whale the boat’s engines were cut. All of the guests on board rushed to the railing on the side of the boat, the side the whale was first spotted on. He said hello by spraying another spout of water from his blow hole, then another, and another giving us glances of his back and side.
“Does it seem like that whale is getting closer?” asked one guest.
Indeed it was. Before the long the whale was within great photo-taking distance from the boat. The whale started to roll on its side and wave its giant fin at us. He would wave and then disappear in into the water. At one point the whale started to do a barrel roll, waving his fins one at a time like a windmill in the water.
At one point the whale lifted half of his body out of the water as if to say “Take a photo of this!” and then fell onto its side, back into the ocean with a might splash. This was a crowd pleaser, for sure!
After 20 minutes or so the whale became tired of us and moved on. When we were sure it was out of our immediate area we fired up the engines and searched for more wild life to observe and photograph. The Skipper took us to Sea Lion Rock where we found both Stellar and California sea lions. Some were sun bathing, looking up occasionally to let out a dominant “ROAR!” while others swam and flipped around in the water near the rock.
The cruise went through the Broken Group Islands where we saw bald eagles and more sea lions. The water sparkled in the sunlight as we passed rocky headlands and lush forests that miraculously grow through rock and sand. Into inlets and around islands we navigated this beautiful unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve before making our way back to the Ucluelet Harbour.
Whale watching is an incredibly moving experience. Are you ready to have yours?