Posted by: cherylyoung | June 3, 2012

Ucluelet, Vancouver Island–The west coast of Canada boasts it’s own brand of safari–a mittful of advertures bringing visitors up close and person with a whole species of critters

Ucluelet, Vancouver Island — The west coast of

Canada’s west coast boasts its own brand of

 safari — a mittful of adventures bringing visitors

up close and personal to critters from bald eagles

and sea otters to humpback and killer whales.

But the Raincoast Maiden does ‘em all.

The Maiden’s agenda for a day includes grey,

 humpback and killer whales, bald eagles,

harbour seals, sea lions, sea otters and black bears.

 Plus a cruise through the Pacific Islands of Barclay


Plus a “gourmet” lunch aboard, Island beer and

B.C. wine optional.

It’s one-stop shopping for tourists with limited

time and money.

Trip Advisor rates it the No. 1 outdoor activity

 in B.C.

Under the banner of Archipelago Cruises, the

 two-storey, 23-passenger motor yacht sails daily

from Ucluelet, half an hour south of the luxe resort

 of Tofino.

Queasy sailors will be pleased to know

state-of-the-art hydraulic stabilizers guarantee

a stable, comfortable journey.

Pilot-proprietors Al and Toddy Landry, former

shrimp fishers, launched their cruise five

years ago.

They try to show their passengers everything on

the checklist. Sometimes, they see more than


The whales, for instance.

In April and May, this swatch of coast sees the

 greatest whale migration on the planet — 17,000

 grey whales in transit from their birthing

 grounds in Baja, Mexico, to their summer home

 in Alaska.

The greys are up to 18 metres long and as buoyant

 as butterflies.

Talk about kick-starting your sense of wonder.

Throughout summer until early October,

humpback and killer whales rarely fail to deliver

 stellar performances.

“You ought to see humpbacks breach,” Al Landry


“They can come flying out of the water at any time.

You can see fountains of fish spewing out of their


“It happens too fast for anyone to shout, ‘

Thar she blows!’ “

“One of our most exciting sightings,” he says,

“was a pod of transient whales attacking a seal

colony in search of lunch.

And where resident whales are fish-eaters,

transients — nomads — are carnivorous.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a kind of nature few

 humans ever witness.”

“Look at the sea otter,” Toddy says.

“He dives for sea urchins, flips on to his back,

reaches into his armpit for his stone — about the

size of a small egg — smashes the urchin on his

chest, wolfs it down and dives for another.”

After a full morning of wildlife viewing, the

 Raincoast Maiden sweeps her passengers through

the Broken Islands, an archipelago of 20,000 islands.

Toddy distributes picnic hampers with lunch of

 wild poached salmon, chili-roasted chicken or

vegetable roulade with goat cheese.

The occasional cork pops, too.

Among these islands, humpbacks may swim up to

 the boat at any time.

The most the Landrys have seen is 20 in a day.

“One breached beside us for a full hour,” says Al.

“That’s the most our passengers have had their

mouths open without saying anything.”


For information on the Raincoast Maiden, visit

The five-hour cruise costs $139 adults, $99 children.

For tourist information, visit

On safari in B.C.

Hop aboard Raincoast Maiden to see whales,

seals, sea lions and more






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