Along with Orcas and Humpback Whales, the Pacific Coast is home to several species of aquatic animals and birds including Stellar Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Porpoises, Otters, Bald Eagles, Blue Herons and more…


Orca or Killer Whale

Orcas are found in oceans all over the world, however, the highest concentrations are found in temperate and cold waters. In each location, Orcas exist as discreet populations with unique vocalizations, strategies and family structure.

Three Type of Orcas can be found off our coast:


  • Eat marine mammals, including seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoise and whales.
  • Usually travel as small groups that may or may not be related
  • Hunt in groups, are very silent and stealthy
  • Usually only vocalize after a successful kill


  • Prey on fish; 95% salmon (mainly Chinook salmon), 5% other fish (herring & cod)
  • Clicks are how they echolocate, allows them to see around them and to search for prey.
  • The oldest female is the matriarch of the pod
  • Travel in extended family groups, known as pods


  • Little is known about these population as they are rarely seen in near shore waters
  • Some evidence that they prey on sharks and rays

Our encounters are frequently with Transient Orcas.


Humpback Whale

The Humpback is a baleen whale and is best known for lunge feeding on krill or schools of small baitfish, such as herring or sardines. While lunge feeding, the whale emerges from the water with a gaping mouth pointed upwards as it engulfs a mouthful of prey water. The large tongue of the whales forces through the water through the baleen, straining the food. Humpback Whales will also feed cooperatively by blowing bubble nets around their confused fish prey.

The Humpback Whales is probably best known for its complex and lengthy songs. Only the males of this species are singers, and the songs are believed to play some role in mating behaviors.

Humpback Whales are found throughout the worlds tropical and temperate oceans. They were extensively targeted by the whaling industry at one time. Which drastically decreased their population. However, females produce a single calf every two to three years for their entire adult life, hastening population growth back to a healthy level.

The scalloped edge and the under-side of the tail flukes of Humpback Whales are distinctive enough to allow ID of individuals.


Sea Lion


Have you ever been so close to a wild animal that you could hear its sounds or even smell it? Well you don’t need to be right next to a Sea Lion to hear or smell these spectacular lively creatures. Sea Lions are very vocal and pungent animals that always make their presence known. Although they make a show by being very loud they love to just relax and lounge in the sun on any structure they can find. In the spring we see hundreds of them on the Jetty (an 8 km long rock formation) along the mouth of the South Arm of the Fraser River. If the tide is high and they cannot find any naturally occurring surfaces you will often find them on buoys or other manmade structures.

You can see these wonderful and animated animals with us during the spring and fall. Hundreds of Sea Lions travel to these waters every year to bulk up on fat storages to prepare themselves for migration to their breeding grounds where they will not eat for months.


Harbour Seals

Harbours Seals are the most numerous marine mammals in our area. We may encounter them as solitary swimmers, or as large groups hauled out on rocks, shorelines or reefs. They feed mostly on small fish, however, a salmon could be a mealtime prize. Harbour Seals are found in coastal, temperate water throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere.


Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) is a species of porpoise found only in the North Pacific. Prince William Sound, Alaska.

We can encounter two types of porpoises while on our tour Dall’s or Harbour. Porpoises differ from dolphins in the shape of their teeth (spade like for porpoises, pointed for dolphins), and by their behaviors. Porpoises feed on small fish and squid and are predated upon by Transient Killer Whales. Harbour Porpoises are found in all near shore, temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere. They tend to be very shy of the boats and are usually seen only at a distance.



River Otters like to live near source (ie. River, Lake, Ocean) and are very common along the West Coast. They may wander from water to build a den and are most active in the evening. River Otters Diet consists of fish, crayfish, and crabs.

Although they look similar River Otters are not the same as Sea Otters. River Otters do go on land and are more common along the coast, Sea Otters do not go on land are only found on the west coast and north tip of Vancouver Island and around the Goose Islands (north-west coast)


Bald Eagles can be seen during our entire season and throughout our range. Spring and early summer have the most consistent sightings. A Bald Eagle’s diet consists of primarily of oily fish such as salmon and herring, which they pluck from the water using impressive swoops. They also prey on seas gulls and ducks, and have been known to raid the nest of Great Blue Herons.

Bald Eagles mates for life. They return to the same nest every year, increasing its size each season. They lay two eggs, usually just the first hatched eaglet survives. Eaglets leave the nest at about 12 weeks of age. They are mostly dark brown in colour and will not develop their distinctive white head and tail feathers until maturity at five years of age.


Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is the largest and most widespread heron in North America. Its success may be attributed to a varied diet of fish, amphibians, small reptiles, small crustaceans, insects and even small rodents. The Great Blue Heron is a solitary predator, usually hunting at dawn and dusk. They are extremely patient predators, standing completely still and waiting for some hapless prey to cross the path of their dagger-sharp beak. In flight, Great Blue Herons flap their large wings slowly, and hold their neck bent in an S.


Pigeon Guillemot, Surf Scoter, Black Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Bonaparte’s Gull


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