As an accredited member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA), we are frequently updated with the whereabouts of nearby pods of whales. This greatly increases our chances of finding whales on every tour. Our success rate is typically around 95% - however, please note that these are untrained and unpredictable whales. Their 'wildness' is what makes our tours special, but on rare occasions it means that we may be unsuccessful in locating any. If this is the case on your tour, you will be given a voucher to come back again, free of charge! Your free trip never expires and is non-transferable. For this reason, we typically recommend to visitors that you book your tour earlier in your stay in Vancouver rather than on your last day!
Wild Whales Vancouver currently has four vessels in our fleet. Two of our vessels are hydro-foil assisted catamarans while the remaining two are zodiac-style vessels, or rhibs. All four of these vessels have been custom built for whale watching and are exceptional for wildlife viewing. We pride ourselves in offering smaller, more intimate tour sizes (our vessels can accommodate anywhere from 12 - 35 passengers at capacity). All vessels:
- Have a bathroom on-board,
- Are equipped with the latest in marine safety, navigation, and communication equipment,
- Are inspected and certified by Transport Canada.
Special Features While on board any of our vessels, passengers will have access to:
- Local wildlife guides and articles,
- Marine charts for viewing,
- Bottled water and a complimentary snack,
- Underwater hydrophones to allow passengers to listen in to the whales’ vocalizations (circumstances permitting).
Jing Yu: At 42 ft in length, Jing Yu offers seating for 32 passengers total. The indoor cabin provides shelter from the elements, so there’s no need for anti-exposure suits. Large windows and two outdoor viewing decks ensure that your whale-watching experience is uncompromised. This vessel is recommended for families travelling with young children (under the age of 6).
Eagle Eyes: a 43ft, 35-passenger vessel designed specifically for whale watching in this area. As an open-style vessel, it offers an unrestricted 360° view of the surrounding water and wildlife. Guests booked on Eagle Eyes will get a full-length anti-exposure suit to provide shelter from any elements you might encounter on your adventure!
Zodiacs: Our zodiacs offer the most intimate and immersive tour. With small group sizes and views right along the waterline, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the pod! While this is the obvious choice for the adventure seekers, this vessel is not recommended for individuals with back problems. Aurora I and Aurora II offer unrestricted viewing and each guest will be provided with an anti-exposure flotation suit. This vessel is suitable for ages 9 and above.
Please ensure you prepare for all types of weather! Depending on the whales whereabouts, tours can cover a large geographic area. The predicted Vancouver forecast is not necessarily what you can expect when you're out on the water and away from the city. Weather conditions can be extremely variable and we strongly suggest you bring layered clothing, as most often it is cooler on the water than you'd expect.
Sea conditions are variable, and the ride can be bumpy at times. We therefore suggest you wear comfortable, flat-soled shoes. Guests on our open air vessels (or the outdoor seats on the semi-covered vessel), may experience sea spray depending on the wind conditions on the day of your tour. Please prepare for the possibility of getting splashed!
You may want to consider packing:
- A reusable water bottle
- A camera with a fully charged battery and lots of memory storage
- A light snack or packed lunch. If you do not have the means to prepare your own lunch, you can purchase food to-go at the Granville Island Public Market or a bakery down the road (open early in the morning for our earliest summer sailings).
- Gloves and a warm hat for cooler days (toques are available for purchase in our office)
- Your sense of adventure!
- Cash for an optional gratuity, if you feel so inspired! Tips can also be left by card in our office.
Before boarding, we ask all guests to check-in at our office. From there we will provide directions for boarding your boat. We are located on Granville Island which is approximately 10 minutes from most downtown hotels by car.
There are many options for transportation to our office and departure point:
1806 Mast Tower Rd.Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 4B6
- By Bus: From downtown, you can catch the #50 bus (False Creek South) along Granville Street starting at Waterfront Station. Disembark the bus on West 2nd Avenue at Anderson St and walk onto the island. If you would like more information on bus routes and schedules from alternative departure points, please visit the Translink website and use their trip planner.
- By Ferry : The Aquabus or the False Creek Ferries can be boarded from 4 locations downtown Vancouver in addition to stops at Olympic Village, Kitsilano point, or 2 stops in the Fairvew area. For an up-to-date schedule of ferry departures and routes, please visit the Aquabus or the False Creek Ferries online.
- By Car: You can drive directly on to Granville Island and there is usually ample parking available in the morning. Parking can be competitive later in the day, starting around 11am. You must pay for parking between the hours of 11am - 6pm. For more information about parking on Granville Island, click here
- By Taxi: Trips from downtown to Granville Island will likely be around $10 - $15 for up to four people. Call
Black Top Cabs Yellow Cabs , or Maclure’s Cabs for enquiries about larger groups. Traffic on Granville Island is one-way and can move slowly. You may want to ask to be dropped off at the entrance to Granville island.
We offer private whale-watching tours and eco-tours for groups of 35 or less on-board all of our vessels. Tours can be customized to suit your group’s needs. Please call to inquire! Private whale-watching tours are offered throughout the season but they must be booked well in advance, especially during the peak season (July – September).
Why choose a private whale-watching tour?
- Charter rates offer savings for larger groups.
- Exclusive use of the vessel for the duration of the trip.
- A customized experience, tailored to your desires! Departure times can be flexible, within reason.
- Each tour is hosted by an on-board naturalist to interpret the day’s adventure. The guide can customize your experience and provide information based on what you’d like to know.