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Whale Watching Boat FAQs

What kind of boat is it?

It is a 30 foot rigid hull inflatable. It has 4 padded bench seats that seat 3 people each (maybe 4 people if two of them are kids) for a total of 12 passengers. It’s an open zodiac style boat that goes up to 30 knots.

Do we provide snacks or water?

Sorry we do not provide snacks, you are more than welcome to bring your own (though we ask that you consider what types of snacks may work well on a fast moving boat) And as for water, we recommend you bring water along for yourself as we do not provide bottled water on our boat to minimize our impact on the whales by reducing pollution caused by single-use plastics.

Where do we go?

We will go wherever the whales are, travelling as far north as Vancouver, and south into the San Juan Islands. We are part of a whale spotting network that lets us know of the whereabouts of the whales so we know which whales will be best for viewing.  

How long are the tours?

The tours range from 3 hours to 5 hours. Most tours are typically 4 hours long. We want to give you an hour of time spent with the amazing marine wildlife and will travel up to 2 hours away to do so, and then 2 hours back which would result in a “rare” 5 hour tour. If the whales are really close, we may be back as early as 3 hours, though the majority of our tours are approximately 4 hours long.

What about a bathroom?

We suggest everyone use facilities on dry land before the tour starts, though if needed the boat does have a toilet for emergencies. It’s not a 5-star bathroom, though it is more spacious than an airplane lavatory and it “gets the job done”

Can I bring my toddler?

Sorry, our minimum age is 4 years old. We are unable to accommodate children 3 and under.

Will I get seasick?

We have very few guests who experience seasickness on our boat. It’s a very stable boat and we are fortunate to be protected by all the islands in the area. These islands provide shelter from big winds. Open water is where one may anticipate having big swelling waves which are more prone to causing seasickness. Our sheltered waters may get choppy at times in the wind but we have very minimal swell. If you are particularly concerned about feeling unwell, there are natural anti-nausea supplements available from most pharmacies, and we also sell anti-nausea bracelets that work by activating pressure points on the wrist to alleviate symptoms associated with seasickness. 

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Celebrate Transient Orca this Canada Day Weekend

The Transient Orca population is doing really well in recent years, and we have seen over 40 whales frequenting our region in the past few weeks. We have Whale Watching tours going out daily all weekend. Come join us on one of our tours to see these majestic mammals in our beautiful oceans. 

Whale watching tour Departure times:

Friday, June 28 @ 12:00

Saturday, June 29 @ 12:00

Sunday, June 30 @ 12:00(fully booked) and 5:00

Monday, July 1 @ 12:00

We also have all of our many other adventure options happening this weekend as well. Make this Canada Day weekend one to remember. Choose from scooters, bikes, e-bikes, paddleboards, canoe, pedal boat, and kayaks to rent. Or join us for a kayak tour with one of our lovely guides. 

Highlight your Canada Day celebrations with viewing the fireworks from the seat of a kayak on our Fireworks Tour. This 3 hour tour will paddle out to chocolate beach, enjoy the sunset, and then paddle back into the harbour to view the fireworks from the water. What a blast! 🙂  

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Happy Summer Solstice

As we celebrate the summer solstice tomorrow and today marks the last day of spring, we are in full swing here at Salt Spring Adventure Company, helping all kinds of wonderful people with their adventure plans. We have provided adventures to 900 people already this season and look forward to the many more hundreds that will join us this summer. If you don’t have any summer solstice celebration plans yet, come mark the start of summer with an adventure.

We offer an array of adventures such as, guided kayak tours ranging from two to six hours where you can check out beautiful Chocolate Beach on Third Sister Island, or head over to Prevost Island. If you’re feeling hungry, book our Gourmet Lunch Kayak Tour and have your tastebuds delighted with delicious local food prepared by your kayak guide. If you’re wanting to witness the magical transient Orca and Humpback whales or the adorable harbor seals and herons, hop on our twelve passenger zodiac! Or if slow and chill is more your style, rent a stand up paddleboard or two and head out to explore the calm waters of Ganges Harbour, whether you are a beginner or experienced the harbour is a beautiful place to explore in the warm summer months. We have lots of options to offer as we head into summer, give us a call to book your next adventure!

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Scooter the Island

Touring the island on a scooter is an enjoyable way to take in the scenery. There are incredibly 360 km of paved roads to explore on the island. Here is a picture of all the paved roads mapped out with a tracking app by actually driving them with a scooter.

This adventure was done over two days and was almost 10 hours of actual driving. There are so many interesting corners of the island to explore. Our Honda Ruckus Scooters are 49 cc with a V-matic Transmission meaning no shifting required and requires a class 5 drivers license (or equivalent) to operate. The scooters are easy to learn how to drive and a fun way to experience the island in a unique way. Come try one out for the day and see where your scooter adventure can take you.

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Whale Watching & Our New Laws

Salt Spring Adventure Co Ltd. is pleased to announce our new Whale Watching Laws that have started on June 1st! These laws are LONG overdue, and are the first step in helping our Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) survive and thrive in our region.

We want to educate the locals and the tourists about these new laws to ensure they are being followed, and to inform everyone about the reasoning behind these important laws.

For more information, please come talk to us! We have brochures about the new laws and are happy to chat about them and the local environmental issues, always!

Our SRKW are the Salmon eating Orca of our region. They have been in decline for many years now, as their only food source is salmon, which have been reducing in numbers for decades on our coast due to fishing pressure as well as the degradation of the rivers and estuaries where they breed.

In contrast we have more healthy Transient Orca than ever in our region, which eat mammals like seals, sea lions, and porpoise. These Orca have been moving into our region, replacing our SRKW, as they have moved onto other coastal areas to search for salmon.

We also have a large amount of Humpback Whales that have moved back into our region over the last decade, bringing new calves yearly to feed. Scientists surmise these whales are moving from other areas that are being affected by climate change, moving here where the food is.

Salt Spring Adventure Company has been focusing on viewing these Transient Orca and Humpback whales for a couple years now for our whale watching tours, as we feel there is no need to view our SRKW that need all the help they can get. Now there are actual laws which protect them!! We have always focused on an environmental approach to whale watching, making sure we abide by all the laws which are created by DFO and the Pacific Whale Watching Association, who created the Whale Watching Guidelines many years ago. We feel we have a captive audience on our tours, and we make sure that every client learns about the issues our region faces, and how they can make a difference as individuals.

We are Nature Lovers, and we work directly with researchers and local enforcement to ensure whale safety and passing on critical sighting information, as well as entanglements etc. We also donate annually to the Centre For Whale Research who are the leading Researchers for our SRKW for over 40 years.

Our laws in the Salish Sea are now focusing on protecting all our Orca. PWWA member have pledged to not view SRKW at all, and we are allowed to view Transient Orca at 200 metres. All other boats now have to stay 400 metres away from ALL Orca, as most people are unable to differentiate between transient Orca and SRKW. There are also No Go Zones in the region that were created to protect critical habitat for the SRKW.

To learn more about the New laws, please visit https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/mammals-mammiferes/watching-observation/index-eng.html

Our enforcement in the Salish Sea to make sure these laws are upheld now have more funding than ever! They include: Department Of Fisheries, NOAA, Sound Watch, Strait Watch, RCMP, San Juan Sheriff, Canadian Coast Guard, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are even planes which cover the Coast, which have high powered cameras and video for enforcement!

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Transient Beauties

Transient Orca facts:

Transients, also known as Bigg’s killer whales are famous around the world because of their fantastic and dramatic “hunting dances”. These whales have been doing well in more recent years. A significant factor for their rebounding numbers is the population  of harbour seals growing steadily to a stable, and healthy level.

Interestingly, despite how similar they appear to the Southern Resident Orca, Biggs orcas do not interbreed or interact with the southern residents. They even speak an entirely different dialect when vocalizing with each other. Biggs whales tend to travel in smaller groups of about 3-7 individuals as this is an optimal number for hunting in stealth mode.

Come join one of our amazing Whale Watching tours to see these majestic predators in all their beauty. Our Captains are all trained Naturalists and passionate about wildlife and conservation. Our vessel is powered by quiet engines with the lowest emissions. We work collaboratively with researchers and support the Centre for Whale Research.

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300 in 3 weeks

We are now officially 3 weeks into our season and we have already had over 300 customers go on adventures with us. It’s going to be a busy summer at this rate and we want to thank all of the wonderful people who have passed through our doors over the past 3 weeks. If you would like to join us for an adventure of your own, we are happy to help you with your adventure plans. Adventures to choose from include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, cycling, whale watching, touring the island on scooters, or touring the harbour in our pedal boat. Whatever adventure you choose, our beautiful island scenery makes all the adventures on land or at sea spectacular.

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Victoria Day Long Weekend is upon us!

Some fun facts about the May-long weekend for you:

Canada has been celebrating Victoria day since 1845, when Queen Victoria turned 30 years of age. The May-long weekend falls on whichever weekend is closest to the 24th of May in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Interestingly, all of the current Sovereign’s birthdays are all officially celebrated on May 24th as well, regardless of when their actual birthday falls. May long weekend also known as May 2-4 is the official kickoff to summer, where Canadians can confidently count on no longer seeing frost and the fashion trends also switch to lighter-colored summer attire from Victoria Day through until Labour day. With the May-long weekend marking summer being right around the corner, we are getting more and more busy here at the Salt Spring Adventure Company and we would be happy to help you make some fun adventure plans of your own.

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The Summer Seven:

For any of you out there who like lists, and even more so, the satisfaction of checking things off of it, here is a list of things to do this summer:

1- Ganges Harbour Kayak Tour
Go on a guided tour around Ganges Harbour where you will see all kinds of wildlife; eagles, herons, seals, and dolphins, all of which are regularly sighted visitors to our beautiful harbour.

2- Cycle the Island
Salt Spring Island has amazing scenery which is particularly enjoyable at a slower pace from the seat of a bike. Cycling the island means getting some bonus fitness in at the same time as enjoying the fantastic scenery, because let’s be honest, Salt Spring is not flat. 🙂

3- Whale Watching Tour
Enjoying our surrounding marine wildlife from the seat of our Zodiac is a fun way to spend an afternoon. We love our whales and our objective is to educate our guests about the whales and we are very respectful to our majestic ocean beauties.

4- Go out and play in the rain
While the majority of the summer is hot and dry, we do appreciate when it decides to rain. But don’t let that cancel your outdoor plans. Getting out onto the water in the rain is an experience everyone should try and the waters are super calm while the rain droplets cast ripples onto the ocean.

5- Scooter tour
Touring the island on scooters is a blast. Without the surroundings of a car, you can feel more of a connection with the outdoors, and it’s fuel efficient too!

6- Paddle Boarding
Let this summer be the one that you finally get around to getting on a paddleboard, whether it be your first time or the first time in a long time, paddle boarding in our harbour creates a unique vantage point from which to enjoy the harbour and the surrounding scenery.

7- Try an Electric Bike
If you’re not feeling up to the “work” required by traditional pedal powered bike, the assistance of an electric bike may be exactly what you’re looking for to ease the effort needed for the islands beautiful, yet challenging hills.

Salt Spring Adventure Co is happy to help you check any of these items off your “Summer Seven” list. Come Adventure With Us!

Our New Home

 

We had the amazing opportunity to switch to a new location at the beginning of last season. This new space has served us very well, and allows for more space to offer you more fun things. We sell a variety of small souvenirs,  clothing and some practical “adventuristic” items as well. We are now officially open for the 2019 season and enthusiastically look forward to offering you an adventure of some kind. Adventure is what we do 🙂

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© Salt Spring Adventure Co. Ltd. // Photos by John Harvey // Website by Caprina