Painter's Lodge - Campbell River, British Columbia, V9W 4S5, Canada

The Zodiac Experience

May 17, 2014

Didn’t I tell you I have the best job? Wednesday I was lucky enough to hop on board one of our three-hour Marine Wildlife Tours. Having been on several tours in the past, I know that Zodiacs are my favourite style of boat for eco tours—they’re super speedy and have a tendency to make you feel like you’re hovering on the water. And with a clear and sunny forecast, I couldn’t have picked a better day.

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While being outfitted in a cozy orange cruiser suit, our guide Braden received a report of two humpback whales and six orcas on the south tip of Quadra Island. We quickly climbed aboard and set off hot on their tail. By the time we reached their reported location, unfortunately we had just missed them. Braden suggested that we stop at nearby Mitlenatch Island, and seek out the whales a little later.

Mitlenatch Island is in a rain shadow, which means it has a dry climate and a unique ecosystem compared to the surrounding area. Here we had the opportunity to see commerant sea-birds nesting in the cliffs, harbour seals bathing in the sun, and dozens of sealions barking and performing for us. From there we carried on north to Marina Island, where we came across a pod of five Pacific white-sided dolphins. They were incredibly agile and graceful as they glided in and out of the water alongside the boat.

Next we made our way through Sutil Channel, Calm Channel, and finally Okisollo Channel. In these parts one can often see a black or grizzly bear prowling the beach, Braden explained to us. For me, the greatest value in these tours always lies in the sightseeing. The Discovery Islands showcase stunning scenery with views of snow-capped mountains, endless old-growth forest, and untouched beaches. So regardless of what animals decide to appear your trip, you will always experience an in-depth tour of BC’s untouched wilderness.

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When making our way back to Painter’s Lodge on Discovery Passage, Braden spotted spouting water in a nearby cove. As we approached, we realized it was two humpback whales swimming along the shore. What luck! We thought we had lost them but it turns out the whales had turned back and made their way North. They must have known we were looking for them…

I had such an amazing time on our Marine Wildlife Tour, and I know that anyone from a local resident to an international guest would find the tour both fun and insightful. And with the resident Orcas fast approaching our tours will only get more exciting!

Talk to you soon,