Campbell River Marine Mammals

Orcas or Killer whales are the most popular whales that inhabit the waters of the inside passage of Vancouver Island, but they are not the only ones, Minke whales, Gray whales, Humpback whales and all manner of dolphins, and sea lions are regularly sighted.

Whale Watching & Marine Mammal Viewing off the BC Coast

Whale Watching Tours Campbell River Vancouver Island BC Canada

Participating in a Whale Watching tour in the Campbell River area or on Vancouver Island, is not only fun but a wild experience, expect to see far more than Killer Whales, our oceans are home to an bounty of marine mammal species including, sea lions, seals, otters, dolphins and lots more.

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Whale Watching Guidelines for the British Columbia Coast

Pacific White Sided Dolphin Campbell River Whale Watching Vancouver Island BC Canada

With an increased proliferation of Whale Watching vessels and tour operators in the Campbell River region, Johnstone Straits and Vancouver Island, the guidelines for sightseeing have become more stringent. Get to know the law and the rules to protect yourself, all those whale lovers out there are watching you.

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Marine Mammals of the Georgia Strait

Campbell River whale watching and marine mammal tours Vancouver Island BC Canada

What do we do when we find a stranded or injured mammal? How do I identify a specific species of whale? What do they eat? How do Whales communicate with each other? The answers are all here.

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Description – Striped Dolphin

striped dolphin near Campbell River Vancouver Island

Striped Dolphins are not as prolific in the waters of the inside passage of Vancouver Island as other dolphin species, perhaps because of the lack of open waters, but every once in a while we do see them. See if you can identify them by their behavior or special markings.

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Indigenous Species – Steller Sea Lion

Steller Sea Lions Campbell River Whale Watching Vancouver Island BC Canada

Sea Lions are polygamous and arrive at colonies in early to mid May. One specific colony congregates at Mitlenatch Island just off the shores of Quadra near Campbell River. These migratory mammals are a wonder in size and vocal calls. You can hear them miles away.

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Description – Short Beaked Common Dolphin

Whale Watching Tours Campbell River Vancouver Island BC Canada

Remarkably similar to the Long Beaked Common Dolphin this sister species is difficult to track because of the similarities. Mostly seen on the east side of Vancouver Island, these beautiful creatures do venture into the channels every once in a while.

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Description of the Sei Whale

Campbell River Whale Watching Vancouver Island BC Canada

Not seen in our waters for many years, the Sei Whale population were aggressively hunted in the inside passages over 100 years ago. They are now returning and have been spotted often in the past few years. This is good news for all species.

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Indigenous Species – Sea Otter

Sea otter, Campbell river Vancouver island.

We loved to hate the Sea Otter at the marina. This threatened species manages to get inside your boat and make a nest with your cushions and of course with that comes a real mess to clean up. In the Campbell River area and the Discovery Passage we see them all the time.

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Description of the Rough-Toothed Dolphin

rough toothed dolphin campbell river Vancouver island

Only a few small pods of the Rough Toothed Dolphin have been seen in the northern waters of the Pacific Ocean, however, sightings are occurring more often primarily due to climate change which is warming Ocean temperatures .

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Description – Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

pacific white sided dolphin Campbell River Whale Watching Vancouver Island BC Canada

The most prolific of the Dolphin species on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Pacific White Sided Dolphin pods have been seen off the coastline of Campbell River in such numbers as to be estimated in the hundreds at one time.

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Description – Minke Whale

Whale Watching minke-whale off Campbell River Vancouver Island BC Canada

I have seen a lot of Minke Whales in the waters off Campbell River, on the east coast of Vancouver Island and I feel a special affinity for these graceful beasts. Having been a primary target for the whale hunters in the past it is a blessing that they are returning in numbers.

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Description – Killer Whale

Orca spy hoping Whale Watching Campbell River Vancouver Island BC Canada

The mighty Killer Whale, also known as Orca, come home to the inside passage to summer, mate and hunt for salmon. The two species, the Transient Killer Whale and the Resident Killer Whale do not mix but make for an exciting whale watching experience.

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Description – Harbour Seal

Harbour Seals Campbell River Whale watching tours Vancouver Island BC Canada

Harbour Seals can be seen quiet frequently directly from the shoreline in Campbell River, Vancouver Island. Just keep your eyes to the water or fun them sunning on the rocks on the beach.

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Description – Gray Whale

Gray Whale breaching infront of Campbell River on Vancouver Island BC Canada the ultimate Whale Watching Experience

In the past you would rarely see a Gray Whale in the inside passage of Vancouver Island. Now in the waters of the east coast of Campbell River these creatures flourish, so sightings are no longer considered uncommon.

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Description – False Killer Whale

False_killer_whale_Whale Watching tours Vancouver Island BC Canada

They may look like Killer Whales, but the False Killer Whale is much smaller, these mammals are in the dolphin family, although saying that so are Killer Whales which are prolific in the Campbell River, the Discovery Passage, the Georgia Strait and in Johnstone Straits.

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Description – Dall’s Porpoise

dall_porpoise_chasing the wake Campbell River Vancouver island Whale Watching tours BC Canada

The Dall’s Porpoise tendency to approach vessels off the coast of Campbell River sends squeals of delight on whale watching tours and are often the highlight of the tours and the tour operators, because of their antics and want of play, they are such a pleasure to watch. Schools can be in the hundreds.

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Description – California Sea Lion

Whale Watching Tours Campbell River Vancouver Island BC Canada

These intelligent Sea Lions numbers are abundant all over the west coast and the waters in and around the Northern coast of Vancouver Island are no exception. At certain times of the year they can be found from Campbell River to Telegraph Cove and further north.

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