Sightseers whale watching (Canadian Tourism Commission photo)
Pods of Orcinus orca (aka killer whales, the largest member of the dolphin family) are regular visitors in the waters surrounding Alert Bay.
Some 220 of these magnificent black-and-white predators reside full-time off northern Vancouver Island from June to October, visible from the shores of Alert Bay or on whale-watching expeditions.
Their abundance here is the reason internationally renowned whale researcher Dr. Paul Spong established his OrcaLab on nearby Hanson Island. A favourite haunt for Orcas is the rubbing beach at Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, about 15km/9mi southeast of Alert Bay. The North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association is one of several watchdogs who ensure the whales live in harmony with growing numbers of eco-tourists.
in Alert Bay
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