April 29 – Whales and a Bear

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A black bear roaming on a rocky beach just southwest of Victoria today.

Humpback Whales and a Black Bear

Saying our trip was spectacular today would be an understatement. We were speechless and awestruck, and so were our guests. It was a one of a kind trip that is so rare that it has not happened in our 10-year history.

We left Victoria and headed southwest along the shoreline. As we were transiting, a guest asked our naturalist, Katie, if we have black bears in the area and as soon as she responded positively to that, he pointed at a little black dot that was visible against the rocks on a beach. It was incredible! Our Captain Trev instantly changed his direction and headed towards the beach. We could not believe that we were, in fact, looking at a black bear on a beach from the water. It is not something that any of us had ever witnessed before.

Bear-watching from the water is more common on the west coast of Vancouver Island as well as northern island, but not here. We watched the bear roam about along the length of the beach and as we were leaving, so was the bear. It was perfect timing.

Next, we continued our journey southwestwards. Truly, when we left the bear, we did not realize that that was not going to be the only one of the firsts today. We went past Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and found the first Humpback whale of the season! We were astounded.

Humpback whales are baleen whales that migrate between feeding and breeding grounds each year. The ones we get in our waters here come from Hawaii and Mexico. Usually we would have started seeing them back here at the beginning of April but they arrived late this year. This really added a bigger element of surprise not just for the guests, but also for our staff.

Afterwards we also checked out some of the animals that call Race Rocks home. We saw California sea lions, Steller sea lions, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, and many gulls. To add to this already surreal trip, we saw a Gray whale blow in the distance as we were heading back.

It was surely a day none of us will forget.

To add more photos from this surreal day, click on the following link.

April 29 – Whales and a Bear

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