The Unexpected Effects of Watching Wildlife

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Have you ever been relaxing in a spa and heard birdsong or the gentle flowing sound of a stream? Being surrounded by nature has a calming effect on our bodies, so much so that spas replicate these natural sounds to help keep us relaxed and mindful.

Vancouver Island | Clint Rivers

Mindfulness is a buzzword in the world of wellness but nowhere are you more present than when you sit silently, expectantly, truly mindful of every snap of a tree branch, as you hold your breath waiting for a majestic grizzly to appear; or when you become conscious of every ripple of water, as you scan the horizon looking for the tell-tale jet of water from a mighty whale’s blowhole. Spending time in nature invokes the British Columbia Effect—a relaxing reset that allows your brain to also take a restorative vacation.

 

Environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposes that nature relieves everyday stresses, namely when people explore expansive spaces, and experience softly-fascinating stimuli, such as natural wonders and wildlife. In short, a few days can have significant impact on the brain. Other researchers claim that the awe we experience in the wild can make us more generous, connected, and humble—often altering our outlook on life.

Knight Inlet | Sean Scott

BC's Wild Side

It’s easy to be inspired by awesome sights on an immersive wildlife watching trip, one that puts our brains in a restorative healing state as we notice the patterns in tree bark and the wisps of cloud in the sky.

Experience Grizzlies at a Wildlife Lodge

Take a longer break and plan for a completely immersive Khutzeymateen grizzly experience or head to the Great Bear Rainforest to seek out the elusive spirit bear (Kermode)—a white-furred bear that is unique to the area. Spotting one in the wild perhaps takes the ultimate mindfulness to track and experience its ghostly beauty.

Witness the Fall Salmon Run

A colourful and awe-inspiring sight in British Columbia is the sockeye salmon run that happens each year during the first three weeks of October. During this time the Adams River, which flows through Tsútswecw Provincial Park (Roderick Haig-Brown), sees thousands of sockeye salmon return to spawn. On Vancouver Island, Goldstream Provincial Park’s riverside trails provide a bird’s-eye view of salmon fighting their way upstream, or visit Stamp River Provincial Park near Port Alberni where Pacific salmon can be seen en route to spawning beds.

Explore on a City-Based Whale Watching Tour

BC’s cities are perched on the edge of wilderness, so you don’t need to go far to reap the rejuvenating benefits of nature. Whale-watching vessels take people onto the ocean to spot orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, and minkes, and along the way often come across seals, sea lions, porpoises, and bald eagles. Hop on a whale-watching boat from Vancouver or Victoria or take a tour from more remote locations on Vancouver Island or up the BC coast. Then watch, awestruck, as these spectacular cetaceans display their intelligence and grace.

See the Largest Gathering of Wintering Eagles in the World

Eagles soar on wings as wide as we are high. Yet, we most often need binoculars to see them. Watching them makes you realize how big the sky really is. How far these birds have travelled. And how much there is yet to see. Only 90 minutes east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley, the pretty town of Harrison Mills is home to the largest gathering of wintering eagles in the world.  Fraser River Safari offers boat tours that get you close to the action.

 

 

The scale of nature can be breathtaking, whether we observe the sheer size of the incredible animals, seen from a boat on a whale-watching adventure from Vancouver Island, or take in the expanse of a wetland full of waterfowl in the Kootenays.

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Sightseeing, Indigenous Culture, Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours

Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife and Adventure Tours

A locally and family owned tour company located in Campbell River, British Columbia. See Killer Whales (Orcas), Dolphins, Humpback Whales Eagles,...

Phone: (250) 850-1101

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Boating, Sightseeing, Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours

Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours

Eagle Wing Tours is Victoria BC's premier whale and wildlife watching organization. We guarantee adventure with the most thrilling and...

Phone: (250) 384-8008

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Hiking, Indigenous Culture, Wildlife Tours

Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours

We have been the stewards of the grizzly bear population in Homalco's traditional territory of Bute Inlet for over a decade, but the cultural and...

Phone: (250)923-0602

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Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours

BC Whale Tours

Leave the crowds behind on our custom made vessels specifically designed for comfort, speed and safety that carry only 12 guests at a time. The...

Phone: (250) 590-5030

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Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours

Adventure Tofino – Wildlife Tours

WHALES, BEARS, HOT SPRINGS. Adventure Tofino offers personal wildlife tours in small groups for an unfogettable wildlife experience! Enjoy a...

Phone: (250) 725-2895

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Cabins & Cottages, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is a comfortably designed, exclusive eco resort located on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound,...

Phone: (604) 483-2160

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Sightseeing, Bird Watching, Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours

Zeballos Expeditions

Sea otter Enhydra Lutris and whale watching tours in Esperanza Inlet on the west coast of north Vancouver Island. Boat tours last about 5 hours...

Phone: (250) 761-4044

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Fishing, Spas & Wellness, Whale Watching, Wildlife Tours, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

April Point Resort & Spa

Oceanfront getaways, perfect for romantic weekends, family vacations, girlfriend getaways and more. Packages and specials available. Located on...

Phone: (250) 285-2222

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