Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find a list of our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question of your own and it’s not answered below, please go to our contact page and submit your question through our secure contact form.
We require all passengers to meet 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour time. Meet us at 645 Humboldt Street on the North side of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, next to Miniature World.
Our tours are 3 hour tours and depart daily at 10am or 2pm May 7th to Oct 31st, and at 1pm daily April 1st to May 7th.
Our tours depart from the “Yellow Line” on the floating docks in the Victoria Inner Harbour. This is just a short walk across the street from our offices and the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Pants rather than skirts or dresses are recommended as the weather conditions can be windy and the air may be slightly on the cooler side. Think layers! Layer your shirts, a t-shirt with a sweatshirt and or light jacket is plenty. Dress for the day and the season – and remember it is always cooler on the water.
Casual shoes are recommended on the boat.
The following items will always be helpful in making your tour a happy memory:
- Camera or video camera and film
There are no restrictions for this vessel.
Although floatation suits are not required to be worn on our vessel, coast guard approved floatation jackets are provided for our passengers’ comfort. We also have coast guard approved lifejackets onboard for all passengers in the event of an emergency.
Our vessel is also equipped with life rafts, life belts and all equipment required by Transport Canada.
There is storage space available at the office for larger items such as suitcases. Smaller bag/day packs can be taken onboard the vessel. Please talk to our office if you need any items storing.
Yes, all vessels are equipped with a full restroom for the comfort of our passengers.
We facilitate and are part of an extensive spotting network by air (Float planes), sea and land that covers the Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle area. Information is shared and disseminated to partners in the industry. When there have not been reports before a trip, our expert captain and crew use their knowledge of the area and the whales to do educated searches, typically resulting in success! In the peak summer months we have at least a 98% success rate of “finding” whales.
We have been offering tours in the Salish Sea longer than any other whale watching company in Victoria, in fact we like to call ourselves the pioneers in the industry. As leaders in experience, innovation and knowledge, we have been showing guests the wonders of the Salish Sea for over 30 years. Our captain and crew are highly educated and passionate about what they do, and know these waters like the back of their hand.
While you can never guarantee an animal in their natural habitat, we at Five Star are confident that over 98% of the time in peak season months we will be able to show you whales in the wild! Despite industry leading success rates in whale sightings, there is the rare occasion that our whale friends decide to play hide and seek. If this happens between June 1st – October 31st we invite you to join us again on a complimentary tour.
Orcas, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, and Gray Whales.
In the waters around southern Vancouver Island, we’re most likely to see killer whales from April to October. We have had a great resurgence in Humpback sightings as well!
Unlike people, whales are not on a 24 hour clock, and so time of day does not influence likelihood of sightings – the time you choose is in order to best suit your schedule.
On occasion it can happen. However, our twin hull catamaran is one of the most stable vessels in the industry and thereby minimizes motion sickness. If you find yourself more susceptible to motion sickness we recommend you take your preferred medicine at least an hour prior to departure. Please feel free to check with our office the day of to find out what the water conditions are like that day in anticipation of tour.
We offer complimentary coffee and hot chocolate, bottles of water, coast guard approved water proof floatation jackets, hydrophones to hear the whales, and 2 expert marine naturalists narrating your 3 hour tour. If you would like to bring your own snacks or drinks you are welcome to bring them on board.
We adhere to a strict set of regulations set out by the whale watching network (PWWA) of which we are a part of, and by US and Canadian regulatory authorities. The guidelines stipulate that all vessels must maintain a distance of at least 100meters from the whales in Canadian waters including Orcas. In American water it is 100 yards for any Whale except Orcas which vessels must maintain a distance of 200yards. Five Star Whale Watching follow Respectable Whale & Wildlife Viewing Practices.