As the winter storms subside, and our ancient sea-dwelling cousins return to these waters for a while, it’s your turn for a small migration. Going out on the water to watch the whales – or sea lions or sea otters – is a way to see a world mostly spared from human touch. From a safe and respectful distance, we can be completely fascinated by these animals – even as they are perfectly indifferent to us.
There may be no easier way to see wild animals where they belong than from a whale watching boat. If you insist on hiking for hours or paddling long stretches to earn a glimpse of wildlife, you can. But if your stay is short, or you’re unsure of your knees or arms, then a walk to the dock will be the first steps to changing the way you look at your planet. The sight of these creatures, unafraid and unthreatening and in their home, will stay with you long after you’ve returned to yours.
Between March and May, nearly 20,000 grey whales move from their breeding grounds near the Baja Peninsula to their feeding grounds in the Arctic. To celebrate this season, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival takes place in early Spring and offers marine life education, First Nations cultural workshops, and more.
Back onshore, Spring is impatient and eager to show you something new in every direction: new plants sprouting from the forest floor, new buds and flowers, new signs of life in the birds’ nests and bear dens. This a sensitive and fragile time for all young, living things. Please be quietly respectful as you visit and admire them.
And please remember that any day in Ucluelet can bring any or all of the four seasons, so be prepared by packing layers! In any weather there are fun things to do here. A rainy day visit to the Ucluelet Aquarium is a perfect way to learn more about the local waters, even if you’re not out on them.