Frequently Asked Questions

Do you really see whales?

Absolutely! Sooke Whale Watching is proud to announce that we have a success rate of almost 95% for the season. Please understand that we never guarantee whales sightings. Every day brings new and exciting unpredictable marine adventures.

What time of year is best for watching whales?

Transient Orcas are frequently sighted throughout the year when there are plenty of seals and sea lions to lure them. For the last few years, Humpbacks have been reliably sighted from March through November, while the elusive Gray whales are only occasional visitors as they are in transit seasonally. We also encounter Minke Whales and the White-Sided Dolphins.

How close will we get to the whales?

As a proud member of the Whale Watch Operators Association Northwest, Sooke Whale Watching’s number one priority is protecting the safety of the whales and other marine wildlife, as well as our passengers. When we’re within 100 yards of a whale we turn off our engines. As we drift along, whales will often swim right up to the boat. So, it’s up to the whales how close we get.

What else do you see on a trip?

In addition to Minke, Humpback and Gray whales, you may see Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Porpoise, California Sea Lions, Stellar Sea Lions, bald eagles, common murres and cormorants.

What happens if we don’t see a whale?

Viewing sea life in their natural habitat is an incredible, unmatched experience, but the travel patterns and behaviors of these feral creatures are unpredictable. For this reason, we can’t guarantee you will see whales or wildlife on every tour. But, to offer our passengers the most enjoyable wildlife viewing experiences possible, we are part of a sophisticated, successful whale-spotting network. This gives you the best opportunity to view sea life in their natural environment.

What should we bring?

We provide Protective Flotation Suits for your safety. This will help keep you warmer and drier, but we strongly recommend you wear warm underclothes and flat closed-toed shoes.

We will be traveling at speeds of 30 miles per hour or more, so warm socks and a sweater or jacket will help you enjoy the outdoors even more.

  • Warm clothing
  • Proper footwear
  • Tight-fitting hat or toque
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses or other eye protection
  • Sunscreen – it will protect you from sunburn and windburn
  • Bring your camera and/or video camera
  • We recommend that you bring a plastic bag to keep your camera dry while we’re moving or if it’s raining
  • We always bring the boat to a complete stop for photo opportunities

How long are the trips?

Most Sooke / Victoria trips are up to 3 hours, but this will vary with weather and other conditions.

Should we make a reservation?

There is so much do and see throughout Victoria, Sooke and surrounding area that we highly recommended reservations so that we can offer you the best departure time that fits your busy schedule.

When should we check in?

Thirty (30) minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

What is Sooke Whale Watching’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation Policy is 72 hours prior to trip departure time, unless agreed upon in advance with the office staff.