you have a FAQ (frequently asked question) about Whale Watching? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some common questions and their answers. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


How do you find the Whales?

SpringTide partners with the most extensive international whale-spotting network available to ensure the highest sighting rate. We work together with land, water and air-based observers to provide continuous information throughout the day.  We also have extensive radio communication between US and Canadian companies to ensure regular sightings.

What if I don’t see any Whales?

It happens. We can’t control wild animals, nor can we always know where they’re going to be. Most days, we have a pretty good idea of where to go as our whale-spotting network is always on the lookout for sightings. Every now and then though, nobody’s home when we come knocking. In that case, we invite you to come on back for a free trip — space and Transport Canada required crew on board permitting. We call it our “It’s a Fluke” program.  You’ve come a long way to watch Whales in their native habitats and we’re willing to go a long way to make that happen for you.

What are the most commonly seen Whales?

Killer Whales and Humpback Whales are seen most regularly and Minke and Gray Whales are seen now and again.

What are the best times of year to see the Whales? Does time of day matter? What about the weather?

In the waters surrounding southern Vancouver Island, we’re most likely to see Whales from April to October. Time of day and weather do not appear to have any predictable influence on Whale behaviour, they are wild animals after all!

Will I get seasick?

We suspect not. Marauder IV is a mono-hull vessel and handles the water exquisitely. And because the Zodiacs are open to the fresh air, there’s usually no need to worry about seasickness. We do, however, have travel bands available for purchase that work on acupressure points.

Are there snacks and drinks?

Complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate are offered aboard Marauder IV. Drinking water is also available. You’re more than welcome to bring a water bottle along on whichever vessel you’re travelling on.

Is the three-hour Whale Watching tour the only tour SpringTide offers?

SpringTide also rents boats for Private Charters such as harbour and dinner cruises year-round.

And of course, if you’re in the market for some fresh fish, we’re proud to offer you the most recommended Sport Fishing team in Victoria! Find out more under the “Tour Info” tab.

If you are visiting in the winter, we offer a 3-hour Marine Wildlife Tour by Zodiac from November to March to visit with our winter wildlife.

Are there age restrictions on the Whale Watching tours?

There aren’t any age or ability restrictions for joining us on Marauder IV. We don’t recommend Zodiac travel for young children who are under the age of 8 or under 1.4 meters  (4.5 feet), nor do we recommend it for those in frail health, with neck or spinal problems, or for expectant mothers.

How did the name SpringTide come about?

One year when we (Dan and Joanne) were vacationing on San Juan Island, we picked up a local publication. Its name was “SpringTide”, and on the cover was a photo of a completely arresting coastal scene. We were smitten. When we bought our 36’ Uniflite, we renamed her SpringTide.

We like the different meanings for the word, too. Not only is it the name of our boat and our business, but we find inspiration in its natural meaning as well. A true spring tide occurs when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, causing an immense gravitational force on the planet. Ocean levels around the world rise to their highest and ebb to their lowest during these times. A spring tide happens once a month – and it doesn’t just affect the Ocean. Plants, animals and people are composed mostly of water, meaning spring tides affect our energy levels and activity patterns, too! For Sport Fishers, marine activity is at its highest state during a spring tide. It’s good for us…and it’s great for the Orcas.

So…why does an ecotour company have a boat called Marauder?

Back in the day, Marauder IV was a well-known Sport Fishing Charter vessel based at the Vancouver Westin Bayshore Hotel. She was kind of like royalty, offering Salmon Fishing Charters to the rich and famous. She’s still recognized in our waters by people who remember her from her big city life. We’ve left her name intact because…well…it’s catchy. It gets people talking, too!

Do I get one of those funny looking suits?

You are thinking of the one piece ‘floatation suits’ that you may have seen in pictures..

Yes, you wear these suits if you choose to join a zodiac tour, but you do not need to wear one if you join the ocean cruiser tour (the Marauder IV boat).

The suits are definitely odd looking and fit over your street clothing.  They are designed to keep you floating should you opt for a swim (we are not planning for this though!).  Although the suits keep you afloat, they don’t keep you particularly warm or dry.  We suggest planning on bringing extra layers of clothing and also, this is a ‘heads up’ that you might get wet =)