We need to acknowledge that it is quite a big surprise to find out how many whale watching opportunities exist in Vancouver. The wildlife diversity here is quite huge, mainly because of Vancouver being right next to Fraser River and the estuary where the Pacific Ocean is met. The waters are nutrient rich, thus bringing in a life diversity that is stunning, including millions of salmon fish and different whales, including the popular Killer Whale.
Killer Whales In Vancouver
Orcas, commonly referred to as Killer Whales, have a really good distribution in Vancouver. You can see such whales that are a part of the large Southern Resident Community. These animals are social, really intelligent and have strong family bonds. They normally travel in pods so you will normally get a chance to see many at once.
Statistics show that there are currently a little over 80 members in the Southern Killer Whales Resident community. As you can expect, in the US, these are seen as endangered, mainly because of the decrease in prey availability, with not enough food to support all the population.
Visitors can see Killer Whales in Vancouver all around the year. However, you will get to see more during early autumn, summer and spring. That is because salmon is much more prevalent. Besides the locals, you can also get to see many transient killer whales.
You normally find these whales in coastal, shallow waters, in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. Gray whales do tend to go through a really long annual migration schedule, many travelling up to eight thousand kilometers from Mexico and Baja, their breeding lagoons. Many do not go through such a migration system and can be seen in various parts of the Pacific Ocean, including close to Vancouver.
If you want to experience seeing gray whales, you will want to visit during April and June. These animals are solitary and will not form strong social bonds. Only mothers and calves showcase such a bond.
What is interesting is that there is one major predator for the gray whales, the Killer Whale that is transient. It will sometimes target calves.
These are quite common in all the major oceans from around the world. Most of them migrate towards temperate feeding areas, preferring coastal regions. You will normally see them alone, even if they do feed cooperatively so that herding of fish schools is possible. Humpback whales are becoming more common in the southern part of Vancouver Island, with a constant increase in the number of sightings reported.
This is a really small and so misunderstood baleen whale. You can normally see them in North Atlantic and North Pacific. The mink whale is solitary so do not expect to see many at once. Just as with the gray whales, the mink whales are sometimes targeted by Killer Whales that are transient. You can find mink whales feeding on schooling fish in the Vancouver area.