I was hesitant and oh, so nervous about this adventure. As we were signing papers and meeting with our tour guides, they spoke about the group that went out an hour prior… they had only seen two or three whales. Whale watching has always been on my bucket list, and I was NOT about to go home disappointed.
As I sat with my eyes glued to the horizon, I swear, every wave seemed as though it was a whale breaching. After cruising for about a half an hour, our captain got some sort of code message on his walkie-talkie and the boat slowed down. And thar she blows… there was our first jumper!!
The captain lightly treaded around the orca, keeping a safe distance. I was taking picture after picture, mostly of the water, thinking that this would be one of the only guys we saw on our trip, but then Shamu submerged all too soon. But before we knew it, we were cruising right over to the next location.
This is where it all gets slightly blurry because I became a little too enraptured in the situation we encountered. This is the point where I became “that tourist” I hate so much. You know, the obnoxiously enthusiastic, thinking I’m the only one on the boat trying to snap a decent picture, kind of tourist. The swearing in excitement and knocking people over as I ran from port to starboard and bow to stern in attempt to follow the whale’s trail, type of tourist. I’m not proud, okay? But it happened. And I did manage to get a few good photos.
Other boats began to make their way over to where we were located. Then the captain began to get more and more of those code messages, and all of the sudden there were whales EVERYWHERE. At this point, it would have been appropriate to call me a whale-doting, picture-taking, lunatic.
Little whale families were popping up left and right. Only two or three whales were spotted on the earlier trip?! How did we get so lucky?! The captain informed us that there was an estimated 60 whales stretched up and down the coast!
They were coming RIGHT up to the boat. At this point, I was almost peeing myself with excitement. Tears were streaming down my face.
You know you are having an exceptionally lucky trip when even your guides who do this several times every day are enthralled! The captain sat in idle and for a good while and let us bask in the spectacle unfolding in front of us. It’s really a magical feeling watching such majestic, wild animals in their natural habitat.
I even learned something new: When a whale is about to give birth, its pod ceremoniously gathers in a circle around the pregnant whale. Once the baby is born, the sister of the new mom swims underneath the baby and pushes it up to the surface for its first breath.
Once our fingers were numb from taking so many pictures, we headed back toward Victoria. I had finally collected myself when the captain got another one of those secret messages on his device and we started speeding off in a slightly different direction. He informed us that Houdini, a young gray whale, was awaiting our arrival.
I mean really, COULD THIS DAY GET ANY BETTER?!
And there he was scanning the shallow waters for some lunch. (Houdini is what the guides call him… Apparently some days he is there and others he is isn’t, but they have no idea where he goes when he leaves.)
The captain said the young pup had been in the area for about a month and had since gained approximately 1,000 pounds.
Once we had definitely overstayed our welcome, we headed back feeling BEYOND triumphant with our first ever whale watching experience.