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Thank you for a very interesting day out! This was really something special, we felt lucky to have been out today. Best experience in Vancouver. Thanks again.

Flemming & Inga

Harbour Porpoise (Phocena phocena)

Harbour Porpoise are small, toothed whales found in the near-shore, relatively shallow waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific.

Harbour Porpoise are shy animals. They are notoriously difficult to approach by boat. However, we do observe them throughout the season on our tours. Usually, they are often seen alone or in small groups, however, large feeding aggregations have been observed.

Calves are thought to born in the summer and young porpoise nurse for 6-10 months, although they may stay with their mothers for longer to learn hunting techniques.

Harbour Porpoise have a very diverse diet which varies locally, but it usually includes smaller fish and cephalopods.

An estimate of the number of Harbour Porpoise in BC is not available. However, due to the fact that they are frequently caught accidentally by fisherman, their population is thought to be at risk.

Dall’s Porpoise (Phocenoides dalli)

Dall’s Porpoise are small, toothed whales found only in the temperate North Pacific Ocean. They favour deeper waters than other porpoises and are most common offshore. However, they are regularly sighted in the deeper, cooler waters of the Salish Sea and we observe them on our tours throughout the season.

Unlike Harbour porpoise, Dall’s porpoise readily approach boats and can often be seen surfing in wakes alongside and behind boats.

Usually seen in small groups of 2-12, their social relationships are fluid and individuals change associations with other porpoise regularly.

They are thought to be the fastest cetacean species and are often identified by the characteristic ‘rooster tail’ of water created behind them as they quickly come up to the surface to breathe.

Dall’s Porpoise mainly eat small, schooling fish such as herring and hake, as well as squid. It is thought they feed mostly at night when their prey approaches the surface. They are not known to feed on salmon.

Currently, the population of Dall’s Porpoise in BC is thought to be healthy and they are considered numerous throughout their range. However, many Dall’s porpoise are entangled in fishing gear every year. It is not known if this mortality is effecting the population, because their exact numbers and movements are not well understood.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins (Lagnorynchus actus)

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins can be found across the temperate North Pacific. They are usually found far offshore, but can be observed in deeper channels, near-shore in BC and Washington.

Once a rare sight in the coastal waters of BC, sightings have been increasing in recent years especially in the southern Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, near Vancouver, BC.

A very social species, they are usually seen in large groups ranging from 10-100. They are very active at the surface and often engage in aerial acrobatics.

They readily approach boats and can often be seen riding in their wakes.

Little is known about their social or reproductive behaviour. In BC, small schooling fish are an important prey, but their diet appears to be very opportunistic.

Pacific White-Sided dolphins are numerous across the Pacific; research has estimated their population at one million animals. Threats to this population include predation by Transient Killer Whales and entanglement in fishing gear, particularly drift-net fisheries.