Victoria whale-watching - Brentwood Bay kayaking

Messing about on the water

Victoria whale-watching and kayaking are two popular pursuits of visitors and residents alike on southern Vancouver Island: messing about on the water is such fun. The reasons are fairly obvious in different ways.

Exploring the coastline gives a different perspective of the island, a new way to enjoy its beauty. Taking a whale-watching trip adds a thrill to this.

Orca Spirit have their base in Victorias Inner Harbour where the fun begins. You will be in the hands of a long-established whale watching company whose skippers / naturalists will give you a memorable experience whether on their covered ocean cruisers or on a zodiac.

It is unusual not to see whales but they do not breach before your eyes to order! There are three pods (families) of residents and passing transcient orcas so you can hope for the rare whale soup of up to 80 killer whales. Humpback whales appear quite often and you may well see porpoises and seals too. Tours usually visit Race Rocks where sea lions, Steller and California, are draped on the rocks by the lighthouse. And look out for a variety of marine birds. It is a trip you will long remember.

A change of pace comes from peaceful kayaking around our shores. Each summer I rent a kayak from Pacifica Paddle in the glorious setting of the Saanich Inlet at Brentwood Bay, near the Butchart Gardens. The scenery is splendid, the waters warmer and placid and the other vessels not overwhelming.

This summer I went alone to explore Todd Inlet behind the Butchart Gardens where they had the cement factory and jetty 100 years ago. A couple of weeks later my wife and I joined friends on their boat and we moored in the inlet to watch the Gardens fireworks overhead.

There are so many ways to explore the Vancouver Island coastline off-shore, sailing and fishing trips too. Do ensure you include one of these on your visit to Victoria.