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Whale-Watching in British Columbia

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The waters of Clayoquot Sound off Tofino, a remote hamlet on Vancouver Island’s west coast, are spring feeding grounds for gray and humpback whales and the occasional orca. Up to 20,000 gray whales pass through here each year on their trek north from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to Alaska’s Bering Strait.

The Whale Centre and local tour boat operators offer whale-watching trips, plus bear- and bird-watching tours and excursions to natural hot springs with whale sightings along the way. Since the whales chase salmon, herring, and baitfish into inlet waters, it’s also possible, at times, to spot the giant cetaceans from shore. “We watch whales from the beach sometimes,” says Jeff Mikus, a commercial fisherman and co-owner of Tofino’s Wildside Grill. “Take the dog for a walk and the whales are spouting in 30 feet of water right off Chesterman’s Beach.” And, according to Mikus, killer whales occasionally cruise by the Wickaninnish Inn into the inlet. “You could be sitting in the Point Restaur…