We pride ourselves on our high level service, and the quality of our tours is evident in the things our passengers say about us:
“On our holiday, we were at Disneyland, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and took the train trip through the Rockies. They were all super, but this was the hi-lite of our trip.”
– The Edmiston Family (from Perth, Western Australia)
“I am writing to you to let you know that me and my family had a wonderful time on your July 01 (am) expedition. It was a lifelong dream come true for me to see the whales, they are so magnificent and beautiful in person. Your knowledge and expertise made the trip even more wonderful. Thanks again for making my dream come true and making every moment count on the water with “L-Pod”. I had originally booked a trip in Victoria but was recommended that I change to Sooke Coastal Explorations and thanks for fitting us all in at the last moment. I am so happy that I did. Everyone in Sooke was so wonderful. Thank you once again and best of luck to you in the future and keep up the great work!!!! You have the best job in the world.”
– Angie H. (from Tooele, UT)
“This was the very best trip I have ever done for pleasure, married to a fisherman no whale watching allowed, loved the whole experience, great commentary and well taken care of, my only problem was my video card died so need to get some more excellent shots.”
– Gaye Patterson
“Without a doubt the BEST whale watching experience ever. We were surrounded by 50+ whales who were doing every whale maneuver imaginable. It was absolutely magical. Whale watching tours I have taken out of Victoria can’t even begin to be compared to Sooke Whale Watching. Highly recommend them, it’s well worth the drive from Victoria!!”
– Rhonda Fowler Gwin
“A small whale watching company in Sooke but where you will be assured to see whales, and much more. It seems that even the Whale Watching companies from Victoria come all the way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca to see more whales than around Victoria. It was an open boat but we were right there among a killer whale pod!”
– from Trip Advisor
“Ok..what can I say except that Paul and Dan are FUN and great guys! We went on a whale watching excursion with them and even though that one day the whales were in hiding we still had a blast!! We saw the ever so darling sea otter chillin’ like a villain and the sea lions barking and swimming in the sea all around us. It was so much fun to watch them play with their salmon catch of the day. The scenic views on the water are well worth the trip alone….I will most definitely be going again and have already booked to stay at the cottages attached to the whale excursion business. I can’t wait! If you want a dynamite time with great personable service then I highly recommend this whale watching company…you won’t be disappointed (even if the whales hide on the day you go out). HAVE FUN and thanks Paul and Dan….from the twins!”
– from Trip Advisor
A Whale Of A Show – June 10th, 2008
Four years of living on the West Coast and the closest thing I’ve done to whale watching was scooting over to the side of the ferry where a pod was passing. Unless you count gawking at the animals in an aquarium, which is totally unlike seeing them in the wild.
Pau & Dan Pudwell, owners and operators of Sooke Coastal Explorations (now Sooke Whale Watching), made whale watching thier life four years ago when tehe took over the local business. The West Coast natives know their waters from working for the coast guard, sailing and fishing. The brothers long-time interest in marine life has made them something of a coastal expert.
They are also a bit of an activist.
“It’s hard to spend every day with the animals without wanting to protect them,” he said, explaining that by bringing people close to the whales he hopes it will help others see the importance of protecting them.
The Pudwell’s took me out recently on his high speed Zodiac. The water was calm and there was a transient pod from California to check out.
In the next month several local pods will join together and create a “super pod” making for prime viewing. Nicks said at some points last year he’d see five kilometres of whale fins bobbing though the water.
On my trip there were two to three animals travelling together. But that wasn’t all we looked at.
Trips are up to three hours long and because we comply with the ethical standards of the Whale Watching Operators Association, we don’t spend more than 30 minutes with a group of whales or come closer than 90 metres to the animals with his engine running, so as not to irritate them.
Even without driving right up to the whales, sometimes they’ll pop up next to the boat. They can tell which way they are swimming and positions the Zodiac where they are likely to swim. He said last season a whale jumped right up beside his boat and splashed everybody. I wasn’t so lucky and just watched them from a distance.
When we weren’t following the pod, They gunned the Zodiac around to different wildlife or coastal features. He pointed out seals, sea lions, bald eagles and Race Rocks Island.
They are both full of fun facts, from how the whale pods are identified to how fast sea kelp grows.
They’re tours are for almost all ages and run twice daily until October.
Visitors appreciate Sooke business.
I’m just writing to say thanks for the story about Russ Nicks and Sooke Coastal Explorations.
We moved to the island last fall, and we try to keep our money in the community as best we can. Over Victoria Day weekend we had a friend visit from the US and were looking for something to do that would be new to all of us.
We decided on whale watching and opted to book with Russ’ company, figuring we would save the hour drive, and gas, into Victoria. We sure were glad we chose Russ!
He picks up from three locations in Sooke, one of which was just 15 minutes from our house, really is full of facts about the area, and we had an amazing three hour tour which, thankfully, did not end up like the SS Minnow due to his expertise at handling that Zodiac boat of his.
Even though he stated we might not see whales, he did come through on the day of the trip and we enjoyed what felt like an hour watching a transient pod of killer whales just off the coast of Victoria. Not to be overlooked for the fun factor is simply the exhilarating ride on the water to and from the viewing area, where ever that happens to be on the day of your adventure.
We have been recommending his whale watching service 100 per cent to anyone who may be looking for an easy adventure and are proud that he is based in Sooke. I even went so far as to blog about him and include a link to his website. Good job Russ!
– Doug Gradecki