I booked a whale-watching tour with Vancouver Whale Watch online, before I came to Vancouver. On the day of the tour, the shuttle bus arrived at the pickup point on time, and upon arrival at the Vancouver Whale Watch office, I paid up, and was promptly given a set of wind-breaker suit and a pair of mittens.
I booked the Explorathor II, which is both open-air and covered and has an observation deck. When it got too cold and too sunny, I went to the back of the boat, which is covered. The suit and mittens came really handy! Carl, our naturalist, said that this was the first time he had gone to such a distance to watch the Orcas! John, our captain said that we had travelled 144 miles on our return trip, and it the whole trip took approximately 6 hours.
John made a pit stop for us to photograph the seals and Carl introduced to us the Arbutus tree, which is highly endemic. About 1.5 hours later, we arrived at Sooke and saw quite a few Orcas in the water. John ensured that everybody on board had a good view of the whales before returned.
Tips #1: Book the Explorathor II if you don’t want want to be exposed to the elements throughout your 6-hour trip. It could get too windy, cold and hot (especially on your way back).
Tips #2: Bring some lunch along! Or you could order online too.
Tips#3: Bring sunblock!
Tips #4: Remember to charge your camera batteries the night before. I helped a mother-daughter took pictures of them and found that their camera batteries were almost drained, even before the trip began. I don’t think they managed to take any pictures of the Orcas :(