Whale Watching Tour

Since 1986 we have operated ecologically friendly tours in the pristine waterways of Queen Charlotte Strait, Johnstone Strait (Robson Bight), and Blackfish Sound. This critical habitat area is considered the best place to find Northern Resident Orcas and is where Humpback, Minke, and Bigg’s (Transient) killer whales are also seen.

Trip Information

  • Transport Canada marine safety certified vessel and crew
  • 3 – 3.5-hour tours
  • Hydrophone equipped
  • Protected waters
  • Washroom on board
  • Warm, waterproof floatation suits
  • Catering to smaller groups, families and individuals of all ages

Morning Tours:

Alert Bay: 8:30 a.m.~ **Check-in at the office.

 Alder Bay: 8:45 a.m. ~ **Waiting at the end of the dock.

Afternoon Tours

Alert Bay: 12:30 p.m. ~ **Check-in at the office.

Alder Bay: 12:30 p.m. ~ **Waiting at 12:30 p.m. 

**We will at times depart from Alder Bay ahead of Alert Bay on the afternoon tour, therefore, the check-in/waiting time is posted as the same as Alert Bay.

Rates: Adult: $119 + GST tax
Children: 12 and under:  $99.00 + GST tax

  • Tour start date for 2018 – June 8th
  • Last tour date for 2018 – September 30th
  • Please note, there may only be one tour a day in the beginning and end of our season.
  • We often operate three tours a day in the peak season of August.
  • Our schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.

FAQs

Is it safe to bring a camera?

We seldom get spray coming over the boat unless it is really windy and the seas are choppy. Rain can occur at any time, so we do recommend people bring a dry bag or a simple plastic bag to keep the rain off. There is very little storage room for a big camera bag on board the boat.

What do you recommend we bring on the tour?

We suggest you wear sunscreen, bring a sunhat and sunglasses. Having a warm hat and gloves is advisable in case of a change in weather.  Some people like to bring binoculars to have a really close look at some of the wildlife. They are handy for spotting whales also.

Are toilet facilities onboard the boat?

We have a marine toilet in an enclosed space underneath the driving console. It is easy to use and has enough standing room for the average height. It is not spacious but indeed does that trick.

How many people can the boat take?

Our vessel is certified to take no more than 12 passengers. This does not include the skipper and naturalist. There is plenty of room to stand and walk around the boat when the boat is stationary. We pride ourselves on offering a much more personal tour.

Do we have to wear a life-jacket onboard the boat?

We are Transport Canada certified which means we do have to wear some kind of floatation device. Due to the open boat arrangement and the speed which we can do, we provide floatation suits. They really add to the comfort of our guests especially when the weather is rainy or cold. They also make a fabulous photo to keep as a memoir of your trip.

When is the best time to go whale watching, the morning or afternoon tour?

It is challenging for us to give you the best time to go on a tour. The whales can arrive in the area we visit at any time of day or night and stay as long or as short as they like. They are such dynamic creatures. Another thing to consider is the weather. The prevailing northwest winds can pick up at any time. Thankfully we have a forecast which helps us predict the weather. Sometimes it is windy in the morning and the wind drops by afternoon, or the other way around. It is always a gamble when viewing wildlife.

When does your season start and finish?

Our season typically starts mid-June and ends at the end of September. It is probably worth contacting us as each season it slightly different.

What whales are we likely to see?

In the area, we operate we can see some different species of whales. Our most common sighting in the summer is our resident Orca, Humpback and Minke whales. Occasionally we see Biggs (Transient) Orca, and a few years ago, a juvenile Grey whale spent the entire summer foraging around Cormorant Island. You never know what you are going to see!

What other species are we likely to see?

This area is well known for the diversity of wildlife. It is a smorgasbord of food for many creatures in the food chain and is a critical habitat for particular species. Besides whales, we also have some other marine mammals which include seals, sea lions, porpoises and dolphins. Of great interest, Sea otters have recently started moving into the area. We also have a range of birds including the Bald eagles and numerous other seabirds. It is a birding paradise.

I really want to see Orca. What are our chances of seeing Orca?

The primary food source for resident Orca is salmon (mostly Spring aka Chinook) which migrates through the area in summer. Because of the salmon, orcas are frequently seen in this area from mid-July through to October. At times the orcas can travel 100+ miles out of our range, so there is the occasional day that orcas are not seen.

Whale watching boats and others communicate with each other using a marine radio. Most companies work together as a team on the water, and the information is shared amongst the vessels if whales are sighted. In the given time for the tour (3-3.5 hours), our boat can cover the area well when searching for whales.

We also have the odd sighting of Biggs (Transient orca) which feed on marine mammals. They can arrive at any time of the year. We can often see these whales during our offseason months which is exciting.

Where is your office located?

The Seasmoke Office is situated in Alert Bay at 69 Fir Street and is next door to the Bayside Cafe/Hotel.

How do we get to Alert Bay?

Alert Bay is situated on Cormorant Island and is accessible by car ferry from Port McNeil. Port McNeil is two hours north of Campbell River.

The ferry leaves Port McNeil heading to Alert Bay approximately every two hours starting at 8:40am and ending at 9:30pm. During the summer the BC Ferry can be busy, we recommend getting in the ferry car line up early.

What else can we do in Alert Bay

Alert Bay is worth visiting for at least a day or two. It is a small enough Island that you are able to walk everywhere so a car is not necessary but can be useful.

It is rich in First Nation culture. Therefore, you are able to see the World’s largest standing totem pole, visit the ‘Namgis burial grounds, enjoy a cultural display in the Big house and join a Namgis First Nation tour around the Island.

The highlight of visiting Alert Bay is the U’mista Museum which is world renown, not to mention the friendly locals who call this place home.

We have all facilities required to make you comfortable. This includes a grocery store, hardware store, restaurants, bank, hospital, post office, library and information centre.