The following photo essay was experienced and contributed by John Biehler exclusively for Miss604.com
After a morning filled with perfect weather and surfing (post coming soon), we had just enough time for a quick change at our hotel and then head out for an afternoon in a zodiac for a tour of the Broken Group Islands with Subtidal Adventures in Ucluelet. We arrived and were issued exposure suits which were a welcome change from the neoprene prisons we wore surfing earlier that day.
As we surfed longer than planned, we ended up taking a shortened version of the ‘Islands, Whales & Bears’ tour so that we’d be back in the harbour before the sun went down. One of the first creatures we came across was this mule deer:
Our captain and guide, Brian Congdon, would point out things as we sped along the water as well as slow the boat right down when there was something to see like these harbour seals showing off just outside Ucluelet.
It wasn’t long before we ended up in a nice group of little islands that was home to an estimated 400 Stellar Sea Lions and a handful of California Sea Lions as well.
I actually heard them before we saw them… I heard a weird kind of guttural growling echoing around the islands and over the water. Stellars growl and Californians bark…we heard a little bit of both.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t an ideal time of the season to see any whales (which we didn’t) as it was a little early in the year. Subtidal has a calendar you may want to check when planning a trip for optimal wildlife viewing. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival starts in March which is the next best time to see some grey whales up close.
Even though we didn’t get to see any whales, the sea lions were mezmerizing to watch (and they were watching us) and it was a great day to be on the water.
Upcoming posts to follow from the rest of the tour of Vancouver Island include surfing in Ucluelet and some of the amazing cuisine to be found on the island.
John is an avid photographer, gadget geek and traveller. You can find him on Twitter and at johnbiehler.com where he discusses photography and all sorts of technology. All photos in this post were taken by John.
Disclosure: Activities, services and dining experiences during the trip were compliments of Tourism Vancouver Island or the operators and businesses mentioned.