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best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Krakow, Poland
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best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi ,

I'm visiting Victoria , Tofino and Cmpbell River next mount and I am wanting to do some whale watching.

I'm wondering what everyone would recommend between the three, as Tofino looks more picturesque and slightly cheaper, but is it true Orca's are more prominent closer to Victoria or Cmpbell River?

I would LOVE to see the Orca's and would be disappointed to miss out. Also is this a good time to see the Orca's or am I too early in the season?

Thanks for your advice :)

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi toska ~

Please see post 3 on the following thread from yesterday:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g499151-i17255-k75…

You will be able to go out looking for Orcas next month, no problem.

Krakow, Poland
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2. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi MuftiMixandmatch,

Campbell River 6 hours so much it seems to me, can you tell me why tour lasts 6 hours?

Tofino attracts me but I would like to see orcas

Victoria seems to be the ideal place, can you tell me the route of the tour?

the case goes for to San Juan Islands?

I will spend 2 days in each one of the places, any suggestions what to do and see?

Thanks

Edited: 14 June 2014, 10:13
Port Moody, Canada
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3. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Campbell river takes up to 6 hours because the whales don't just stay in one place. Generally they are a bit further north so you have to travel up to them.

With only 2 days Tofino may be hard to do as it takes a minimum of 3 hours to drive there from Nanaimo.

Victoria and Vancouver tours go to the same whales as do tours from San Juan Islands. Can't say route as the whales move constantly. These are different groups of whales from the ones you'd see out of Campbell River.

San Juan Islands are in US Gulf Islands are in Canada. Same island chain.

How are you getting around? Will you rent a car? Public transport is fairly limited on the island. 2 days in each place doesn't leave much time to see things as it takes time just to get around.

Do you have a rough itinerary to post? If so it can help us make better suggestions for your time.

Krakow, Poland
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4. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi,

we have a car,

27 start from Port Angeles to Victoria, where we stay 2 nights,

29 depart for Tofino, even there we stay 2 nights,

31 depart for Campbell Riverwe remain 2 nights,

02 the evening depart for Vancouver

I doubt remains, where do whale watching?

thanks for help

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi Toska1 ~

In Victoria, the resident Orcas tend to stay in the waters off Victoria, within a 1.5 hour one way boat ride. Tour operators seem to think they can offer a successful Orca tour in that time. So off Victoria waters, the whales might be found anywhere from Port Renfrew to Pender Island to San Juan/Lopez Islands (if you look at a map). When I went on a tour out of Victoria, we went as far as about Sooke, maybe Metchosin in 1.5 hours. You can see how close that is to Victoria on the map. The route of the tour is quite small even though the whales swim in a larger area. I think if the whales were harder to find off Victoria, the tour operators would probably offer 6 hour tours from there, but the whales seem to be more cooperative in Victoria waters.

When the boats go out from Campbell River, you are looking for transient Orcas. These are seal hunters so they move around more. In my opinion, the tours need more time to find the whales.

I think you would have a better chance of seeing Orcas on a tour out of Victoria. But as always, no guarantees because they are wild animals.

In Victoria, you could check the Royal BC Museum, the Inner Harbour, Dallas Road and Beacon Hill Park. Government St shops can be fun to explore especially Rogers Chocolates and Munro Books. There is Craigdarroch castle for 1-1.5 hours or so. See if a tour of the Legislative Buildings interests you and Emily Carr House on Government Street. Fisherman's Wharf is near the Inn at Laurel Point. You can feed the seals there and enjoy the eclectic community of floatboats (houseboats without motors). There must be about 30 floatboats as colourful as Polish regional costumes!! Take a harbour ferry tour for an hour. And think about taking the bus to the White Heather tea shop for afternoon tea.

Krakow, Poland
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6. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi,

thanks for the suggestions,

Polish costumes, I'm Polish :-)

what do you think of the botanical garden, where is it?

a question a bit strange, can you tell me where to find a good street food in Victoria or Vancouver?

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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7. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

"When the boats go out from Campbell River, you are looking for transient Orcas. These are seal hunters so they move around more."

That is incorrect.

Boats from Campbell River generally travel north to Johnstone Strait and often concentrate on looking for resident (fish eaters) Orcas around the Robson Bight (Michael Biggs) Ecological Reserve-although IIRC they are forbidden to actually enter the reserve itself.

Transient Orcas (meat eaters) come & go @ will and there's no predicting where they will stop & feed.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Sam, thanks. Good to have that info corrected.

Toska1 ~ Butchart Gardens is considered a beautiful place. 1-2 hours or so, maybe more if you have a meal there. It's about 30-40 minutes from downtown Victoria by CVS Shuttle or an hour by public transport. CVS is not a guided tour, you are on your own once at the gardens and free to take any shuttle back downtown. Here is a map:

http://goo.gl/maps/snyoV

www.cvstours.com/butchart-gardens-tour.html

Victoria street food: https://www.facebook.com/VicStreetFoodFest

Vancouver Island food trucks (no idea if the list is up to date): urbanspoon.com/t/…Food-Truck-restaurants

There's an app: http://streetfoodapp.com/victoria

Vancouver food truck app: http://streetfoodapp.com/vancouver

I noticed you are from Poland. I enjoyed your city for 3 nights. The Collegium Maius and Copernicus' study rooms were pretty impressive. Then on to Czestochowa and Lowicz before Warsawa. Maybe you could bring some Polish gofr to Vancouver with you! And maybe some sour cherry kompot? :-)

Krakow, Poland
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9. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hi MuftiMixandmatch

thanks for all the information, I hope to have enough time to visit is to taste everything :-)

sinned for Victoria Street Food Festival, arriving in Victoria July 27 :-(

Nanaimo, Canada
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10. Re: best whale watching in Tofino or Victoria or Campbell R ?

Hey there,

I know that there are some Resident Killer Whales in Victoria, so tours often see them. There is also a whale watching tour company in Cowichan Bay, Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching. that has been seeing Resident Killer Whales almost everyday, and they are on the way to Tofino from Victoria.