THE ECOSPHERE COASTAL TOUR
A Deep dive into coastal and marine ecology
Seasonal Ecotours operate from May 15 to October 15
Ready to explore some of the most remote and pristine places on the south coast? Our 3 hour Ecotours take you on an unforgettable journey aboard the Ecosphere I landing craft, alongside a dynamic expedition team of seasoned photographers, marine biologists, historians and Transport Canada-certified boat crew.
With comfortable seating for 8 passengers and 2 crew, the 28-foot Ecosphere I is powered by an inboard diesel engine for speed, along with a zero-emission Torqeedo electric outboard motor for silent passage along coast lines, through narrow waterways and small harbours.
Observe wildlife up close and go ashore to learn about beach formation, intertidal sea life, and the ingenious ways nature compensates for human activity. Haul nets filled with sea life. Explore touch tanks. Learn about the art and science of biomimicry, an approach to innovation that borrows ingenious systems and models found in nature to solve human problems. And use our sophisticated underwater cameras to discover the fascinating world beneath the sea.
As you experiment with our onboard scientific instruments and record your observations on our website, you’ll become a citizen scientist, contributing to our understanding of marine ecology and our impact on the planet.
So go ahead, explore. Your day with us will be unforgettable.
Visit The Bateman Foundation
Did you know your Ecotour package includes a FREE visit to one of the finest nature inspired art galleries in the world?
As proud partners of The Bateman Foundation, we’re pleased to offer admission to The Gallery of Nature to see the works of Robert Bateman and other nature-inspired artists on the day of your tour.
Like the chapters of a good novel, our tours contain a series of stops that connect you to the ever-evolving story of our unique and pristine coastline. At each waypoint, you’ll learn about the features and animal inhabitants that make each location unique. You’ll come away with a new understanding of your own life story and your place in the natural world.
Please Note: Waypoints may vary according to currents, weather and tides.
WAYPOINT 1: Guided Mini-Meditation
Once we leave the busy Inner Harbour, we’ll pause to observe the transition from diesel engine to noise-free electric power. Here is where we set our intention for the day: to be fully present in nature. From here on, you’ll enjoy peaceful observation of wildlife, land features and notable locations as we move along the coastline towards the Haystack Islands.
WAYPOINT 2: Catch of The Day or Who’s Down There?
From seal lions and whales to plankton and fish, the sea is an intricately balanced web of life. At a sample station, you’ll haul our live trap aboard and examine the day’s visitors or inhabitants before releasing the animals back into the water. Record your findings, and learn each animal’s place in the food chain, as well as the effects of human activity on the delicate ecosystem.
WAYPOINT 3: Shorelines & Beaches
What is a feeder bluff? Why is shoreline growth important and what animals make their homes here? Here, you’ll learn beach classifications, and what happens when we build on or too close to the shoreline. As we pass Witty’s Lagoon Estuary, we’ll take a look at aerial photographs and offer a quick history lesson on the life of Sir James Douglas.
WAYPOINT 4: Beach Landing
Let’s go ashore! Our landing craft will set you easily onto the beach, where our guide will lead your exploration of the beach and bordering forest. See what a natural shoreline looks like, and discover clues of human impact and the effects on marine life. You’ll learn why beaches are vital to the entire ecosystem, from the smallest fish to the survival of orcas. Enjoy a mini picnic of foraged delicacies, like arbutus bark, berries, forest greens or oysters with lemon.
WAYPOINT 5: Intertidal zones
On the way to lunch at Pearson college, we’ll pass the entrance of Quarantine Bay. Here, we’ll slow the pace to take a closer look at the intertidal zones on the rocks. As we enter Pedder Bay, we’ll tow our plankton nets behind the boat in two locations–just outside the entrance and inside the bay–and compare samples.
WAYPOINT 6: Lunch at Pearson College
Welcome to Pearson College, where we’ll stretch our sea legs while we view an incredible whale skeleton before we break for lunch and a chance to use the restroom. Enjoy a delicious, catered vegetarian meal prepared from local, seasonal ingredients. (Gluten/lactose free options available at booking.) Your guide will explain where the ingredients were sourced and tell stories of how land and sea have always provided.
WAYPOINT 7: Bentinck Channel Kelp Forest
Here, we offer a rare chance to see a kelp forest in all its glory, from the floating blades to the holdfast that attaches each plant to the bottom of the sea. These magical forests are home to everything from birds and sea otters to a variety of fish and the sometimes problematic sea urchin. Kelp forests are also powerhouse storage facilities for Co2, which means they have a big impact on the health of our planet. We’ll use our underwater camera to get up close, then pull a piece of kelp on board for you to touch, smell and see before we make our way back to our tour starting point.
When you book with us, either online or at our street kiosk, we’ll email you a complete tour schedule along with your ticket and complete instructions on what to bring and wear.
When you book, we’ll prepare your tour gear in advance based on your clothing size. We provide a weather-proof jacket and pants, and a Transport Canada approved personal flotation device (PFD). We suggest you bring a warm layer of clothing, shoes suitable for walking on the beach or other uneven surfaces, sunglasses, hat, sun block, camera and binoculars.
Come to The Bateman Gallery at 9:15 a.m. on the morning of your tour, where your tour guide and a Gallery staff member will greet you at the door with a free ticket to enjoy the art gallery before and after the tour. Enjoy a hot beverage while we all introduce ourselves and don our flotation devices and gear. Tours depart at 10 a.m. from the commercial zone at the Empress dock.
Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature
470 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 1W9
KNOW BEFORE YOU BOOK
- This adventure is not suitable for anyone with a history of serious medical conditions, including but not limited to, back or neck injuries, recent surgery, and/or current or suspected pregnancy. Passengers under 4ft/120cm in height or 50lb / 23kg in weight also cannot join (typically applies to children under 7 years of age.)
- Each passenger is required to sign a Release of Liability at check-in. Participants must be 19 years of age or require a parent or guardian to sign on their behalf.
- As we will be departing the boat onto a beach access, this adventure is not wheelchair accessible.