Spotting the orca rubbing behavior or seeing whales offshore is a memorable experience. You could see humpback whales swimming close to the shoreline and listen to breathing orcas enjoying the pebb
The Orcas usually approach the bay to rub against the pebbled beach in shallow water close to the shoreline, in as little as 1.8 m (6 feet) of water. It can be very close to the beach during high tide. The sea should be smooth and avoid windy days. The chance to spot them increases if you overnight at the campground at Bere Point Regional Park. Select an ocean view site at this fantastically located campground. It is serviced during summer only.
In the evening, we spotted Humpback Whales, and in the morning, we heard orcas rubbing on the pebbles. This rubbing ritual lasts from 15 minutes until 2 hours sometimes. Four different types of orcas occur here around Vancouver Island. The rubbing ones are the northern residents. It is still not known where the behaviour comes from. Is it a form of socializing or to get rid of parasites?
If you like to know more about the orcas and other occurring whales around Vancouver Island, check out our article Vancouver Island Whale Watching.
Weather and Season Details
The precipitation of Vancouver Island's east coast is just 700-800 mm per year. In contrast, the west coast of the island is exposed to moisture-packed winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean and receives plenty of precipitation from October to March. Summers are in general, relatively dry.
Spring is always a great time to visit Vancouver Island. Daily temperatures range from 11-15 ºC. It's a great time for wildlife viewing. The Pacify grey whales are on their route to Alaska, Grizzly and black bears finish their hibernation a looking for food along the shoreline.
From June through September, Vancouver Island is typically sunny and mild, although the temperature at Malcolm Island seldom goes beyond 15-17°C but can reach up to 25°C.
Autumn (late September-October)
In fall you may see a lot of fog, especially in the morning, which could last until mid-day or afternoon. The temperature is on average, around 12°C.
Vancouver Island enjoys a moderate and mild winter in most regions. Therefore outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking in the south-coastal areas are possible, even in January.
The whales come to Tonga for two reasons; first for mating and second for giving birth eleven months later. A large population of humpback whales gathers around Vava'u Islands in Tonga between July and October. These months are the best time for whale watching as well as the unique opportunity to swim with a humpback mother and her calf.
Are Humpback Whale Sightings Guaranteed?
To be on the safe side book your visit between mid-July and end of September. The high number of whales in this area at this time means, there are plenty of opportunities to see them and swim with them. It's also the 'dry season' with less precipitation, less wind, and usually a calmer sea. If you decide to go in October: Whales are starting to leave late September, but especially mothers and their calves are still around in October which can lead to fascinating encounters.
How Long to Stay?
It's recommended to spent several days even better an entire week there, to maximize your chances of sightings and to swim with the whales. The whale watching tours take place in the open water. Sightings can't be guaranteed and the swell can be pretty high. Consider on Sundays none is working.
Where to Stay on Vava'u Islands?
There are not plenty of accommodations on Tonga; Vava'u Islands available. The most excellent hotel is the Mystic Sands Hotel with crystal clear water in front. You can get your pick up by boat for the whale watching trip from their jetty. Another option close by is the Tongan Beach Resort with a tasty restaurant.
The humpback migrate south from the arctic feeding grounds in winter (Nov./Dec.) and back to the north in March/April. The chance of sighting whales is very high.
Migration of Humpback Whales from mid-December through mid-April. The peak time for this whales and most mating activity last from late December to January.
Massachusetts is well known for a high concentration of humpback whales, finback whales, sometimes minke whales and dolphins, therefore, many agencies give a guarantee.
When is the best time? May, June, July, August, September and October are the months for whale watching from Boston with great sighthings. Each summer the whales migrate to Massachusetts and back to warmer water when the weather gets cold.
Make sure to check our 7 Top Tips for Whale Watching from Boston at the end of this article.
Time of Day
In terms of sightings there is no big difference between mornings or afternoon. Mornings are usually less crowded though. That's we recommend the first tour in the morning. From mid-June until early September the first one starts at 9 AM from Monday through Sunday. During other months it can be 10 AM or even later. Click on the tour link below and check available times.
Weather and Sea
During the months of July, August and September the weather is generally more consistently pleasant. However, the whales even come out in the rain. If sea sickness is an issue for you check the weather forecast first to choose a calm day for whale watching. Marine Weather Boston Harbor