One of nature’s most majestic creatures is the killer whale. Orcas can be pretty hard to find and many people will go their entire lives without seeing one in nature. It is easy to see them in captivity, but the ethics of that has flipped in the past few years. However, there are a few ways to increase your chances of seeing one of these gentle giants in the wild.
One of the best ways is to kayak. This will put you close to the action while making unforgettable memories with your loved ones. You may be wondering if this style of observation is safe or worth it. Well, here is some more information about kayaking with killer whales!
Is kayaking with killer whales safe?
The biggest question you may have about killer whale kayaking is about safety. Is it safe? That is a very reasonable question to ask. Well, the simple answer is yes, it is! Despite the scary-sounding “killer whale” name, orcas are extremely intelligent. So intelligent, in fact, that they have never killed a human in the wild, as far as record indicate.
Only one person in our recorded history has ever been injured by a wild orca. Other than that, these majestic animals are far too aware and smart to mess with humans. To keep themselves safe, they will inherently keep you safe.
The only environment where killer whales can become dangerous to humans is when they are in captivity. When orcas are cooped up like they are at Sea World, the conditions are so extra, that they go crazy. When hearing news about orcas killing trainers in captivity, it should come as no surprise as these animals are used to swimming nearly 40 miles every day in the wild, according to National Geographic.
Kayaking to see killer whales provides you with an ethical way of enjoying their beauty without harm to neither you nor the animal. It will make you feel good that both you and the killer whales will be unbothered by the excursion.
Where are the best places to see killer whales?
Because orcas tend to fly under the radar, it is oftentimes hard to catch them where it is possible to get close. There are a few places that you can go to increase the likelihood of catching a glimpse.
One of the best places in the world is right by the San Juan Islands in Washington state. This corridor is known for its awesome number of killer whales moving through the region.
North of Washington, there is the Johnstone Strait in Vancouver. This is another one of the best places in the whole world, so your odds of seeing some orcas isn’t horrible. One the same vein as the Northwestern coast, southern Alaska can have some great spots to do some whale watching.
Some areas not in North America include the English Channel and parts of Norway. There are more places than the ones mentioned, but these are the mainstays. Areas that have killer whales moving through them will see the animals every year, and spots rarely dry up completely.
As you can see, killer whales aren’t everywhere, and finding them is no easy task. Being in the right place at the right time is most of the battle.
Why should you kayak with killer whales?
Going into a small, plastic boat in the ocean next to huge animals seems like a crazy idea. At first, it sounds like one. Once you understand how safe it is and the ethos of the entire act, your perception of this activity can be swayed.
First off, this is the most ethical way to view orcas. Period. You aren’t paying to see them suffer in captivity. You aren’t on a big boat that is potentially polluting the ocean. You are cleanly and safely engaging with nature from a distance.
As long as you are not littering, the nature that harbors these animals will be practically untouched. It is just you, the kayak, and the beast. There is nothing to worry about in terms of if this act is ethical.
Secondly, kayaking offers the best chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. Although it is not common to have a pod of orcas within a few feet of you, it isn’t impossible. You will be amazed at the size and elegance of these animals, especially when they are right next to you.
Whale watching tours can be great, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to spend out there, but you can’t get very close to the action. Kayaking allows a more personal experience that isn’t clouded by tons of people and big machines.
What are the chances of seeing killer whales?
Well, this is the tricky part. If they could be seen every time that people went out, they probably wouldn’t be considered so special. So, when you do see them, it is considered an honor and will create life-long memories.
You have to remember that the orcas are in charge of if you get to see them or not. You are entering their domain, so you also play by their rules. This is the complete opposite of a zoo or aquarium where we control everything. That is why it can be tricky to see them while you are out.
No one set statistic tells you if you will see the orcas during your trip. Once you have found the right location, you need to find the right time for that area. Then, if you are lucky, you can see some wild orcas.
According to Sea Quest Expeditions, a touring company that focuses on the San Juan Islands, about 33% of day trip groups will have an orca encounter. These aren’t great odds, but it makes it all that much more special when it happens.
To harbor the best results, it is recommended to do an orca kayaking trip that can last up to a few days. You will camp and spend your days in the wilderness and on the water searching for killer whales. According to that same expedition company, your odds are increased to 55% of seeing some action when doing a camping excursion.
There are no guarantees, but it is up to you to play the odds and see if it is worth it. You have to come to terms with the fact that you may strikeout. if you happen to have that experience, it will be unforgettable.
Kayaking with killer whales is an excellent way to get out in nature, engage with wildlife, and make valuable memories that you will not forget. Although there is a risk that you won’t see anything, the chance of being right next to a majestic killer whale is one that may be worth taking.
If you find yourself in one of the killer whale hotspots, spending a day or two on the water, looking for orcas will stick out as one of the best experiences of your entire trip. Whether you see any killer whales or not, you will be in beautiful scenes and spend time going on a fun activity.
If you decide to kayak with killer whales, you will feel more connected with nature and much better about ethically experiencing wildlife.