My Time With The Prince Of Whales
No, that was not a typo. I really did spend time with whales, but that’s not how this story begins.
You see, one of the things about travel is the unpredictability of a lot of factors. You cannot always expect to be able to follow the itinerary. Prince of Whales is a tour that allows you to go whale-watching off the coast of Victoria City. They offer trips allowing you to stay for a few days in Victoria before flying you back to Vancouver. We checked in at around 8 in the morning and were scheduled to take the big boat.
The entire check-in process was quick and easy. Simply register and gather round for the important reminders. However, we had bad luck that day. The staff said it was very rare, but the waves were so bad that day. It would have been dangerous to go on the tour. I heard that even the ferries around our area canceled their trips.
Of course, that was a big bummer. But I was really impressed with what I saw next. See, Prince of Whales is one of the best in the whale-watching business. They started in the early 90s. During peak season, they have about 100 staff. Today, I saw just how efficient this staff can be. Those among us who demanded refunds were given one — no questions asked. Those who wanted to rebook were granted the next best slots. And those — like me — who had to fly out were also taken care of.
Being a veteran of the business, the Prince of Whales had partners like Sea Air and Helijet. They contacted these two companies in order to accommodate those who needed transportation. Despite the pressure of the sudden cancellation, the staff worked well. They efficiently provided for each tourist’s needs. Even the boat staff were approaching us to see how they can help. If that isn’t top-notch customer service, I don’t know what is.
We flew out via Harbour Air on the next available flight. The walk towards the flight was surprisingly a good way to enjoy the scenery. In less than 10 minutes, we were boarded on the plane. I would have slept on the flight, but the views were magnificent! I had the front-row window seat. It was perfect for enjoying the view from Vancouver to Victoria.
Being the good company they are, Prince of Whales moved our whale-watching tour off to Victoria. This site offered the “Zodiac” option for the boat. The Zodiacs were an original creation of the company and known as a standard for maneuverability and seaworthiness. The bottom is made of aluminum, and they are also very well-cushioned. This allows for max buoyancy, meaning the boats can take even rough waters. They are also able to drive out very fast, so you can spend less time going from point to point. The time you save can actually be used to take in the sights that await.
The Zodiacs were open-top boats — perfect for thrill-seekers like me! It’s very bouncy, close to the water, and you’d probably get all wet. I sure did, whilst getting sprayed on by splashing waters. There was 12 passengers maximum for the ride. For those who don’t like the sea salt and the sun, there’s always another (more laid-back) option. The Ocean Magic one is closer to the regular ferry-type boat. If you want the Zodiac but do not want all the bounce, seat yourself at the back where it’s more relaxed.
Book your whale watching adventure at this link.
One remarkable thing about the tour is that the different whale watching companies cooperate. They help each other look for the perfect spots. We drove far out into the ocean on that day, and we did see a lot of whales! I cannot contain my excitement as I finally got up close and personal. Mark, our tour guide has been studying whales for some time, and he told us all about them. Seeing these creatures in their natural habitat was priceless. The boat was cruising along parallel to the whales, so those who wish to take photos have a good opportunity.
It was easy to see how the people around here placed value on the welfare of these whales. Mark spoke of each as if he had a personal relationship with them. He knew how they acted, and can even point out the oldest whale in the pack. Looking back, it was well worth every hassle we took just to see this sight!
The Zodiac tour lasted for 3 hours, well worth the $120 price.