March of The Gray Whales
Starting in March every year, the migrating grey whales give Tofino and the whole west coast of Vancouver Island a reason to celebrate.

If you fix your eyes on the horizon off the west coast of Tofino in March, April and May, you’re almost sure to see the spout—or quite often the spouts (plural!) —of migrating grey whales en route from Mexico towards the colder waters off of Alaska. And once your eyes lock onto those spouts, you can wait for the whales to dive deep, showing off the knuckles on their spines and their flukes (tails) as they head underwater in search of planktonic prey.

Roughly 16,000 grey whales make the trek north every year, following the contours of our coastline as they go. So March through June is a prime time for whale watching tours in Tofino and Ucluelet with sightings all but guaranteed. But even if you’re just sitting on the beach, or the patio of one of our Oceanview hotel rooms, or maybe even sipping a cetacean-inspired cocktail in our Great Room, the chances of seeing these majestic mammals are about as high as they get. And while the greys travel as far north as Alaska, they sometimes park themselves right here in Cox Bay, basking in our cold water and feeding on our coastline’s ample supply of delicious (if you’re a whale) plankton snacks.



The greys are generally undisturbed by humans, even with calves in tow, and will occasionally startle surfers with their proximity. Of course they’re wild animals, with the males growing up to 14 metres in length and weighing almost 40,000 kg, so don’t go paddling up to try to try to pet them. But it’s not uncommon for surfers and kayakers to be close enough to smell the majestic giants’ not-so-majestic breath. Stinky though it may be, sharing space with a grey whale is an experience you’ll never forget.

The seasonal return of the whales is a phenomenon worth celebrating, which is how the Pacific Rim Whale Festival was born. The Whale Festival is a quintessential west coast event that takes places from March 16-24. It’s an action-packed week of educational events, parties and conservation efforts, all in the name of not just grey whales, but all the other whales that frequent our waters.

Grey whales hog the spotlight on account of their abundance, but Humpbacks, Minkes and the mighty Orca star in the show as well. Either way, the magic that characterises Tofino, Ucluelet and The Pacific Rim National Park is on full display.

Long Beach Lodge is the perfect staging area for the festival’s diverse selection of events. There’s something for everyone over the course of the week. You could attend them all! Or you could probably just watch the whales do their thing without leaving the comfort of our property. It’s up to you.

Book now to reserve your spot in the lodge and experience the magic for yourself.

Written by Mikey Nixon


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