Ecotours

Seasonal Ecotours operating from April 15 to October 31

THE ECOSPHERE COASTAL TOUR

A Deep dive into coastal and marine ecology

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 9 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 inlets.

Observe wildlife up close and go ashore to learn about beach formation, intertidal sea life, and the ingenious ways nature compensates for human activity. Learn about the art and science of biomimicry, an approach to innovation that borrows ingenious systems and models found in nature to solve human challenges. And hear the story of Takaya, the lone wolf. His journey to the islands, survival and final days. Learn about the indigenous inhabitants. The Songhees First Nation. Their ancient and modern history and relationship with the natural world.

As you explore the environment and record your observations, 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.

Tour waypoints

Like the chapters of a good book, 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 ad 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 marina, we’ll pause to observe the transition from our relatively noisy land based lives to the marine environment. Here is where we set our intention for the day: to be fully present in nature. From here on, you will enjoy peaceful observation of wildlife, land features and notable locations as we journey through the Chatham, Discovery and Chain Island archipelagos.
WAYPOINT 2: Ancient History
Drift offshore Small Chatham Island (TL’CHES) and take in the energy of this Songhees First Nation sacred place. Imagine hundreds of canoes moving between the islands; fishing, trading, connecting families, exploring and raiding. One million people around the Salish Sea fifteen hundred years ago. You will be transported back in time through storytelling and the historical record to witness a vibrant people nurtured and sustained by their environment.  
WAYPOINT 3: Look around you
The homes on Ten Mile point to the east and along the coast to the north and west as far as the eye can see is evidence of intense human activity. Turn around now and look forward into the narrow passage ahead. This is where we descent into the channels, inlets and bays of the islands. Leave the ur
WAYPOINT 4: Tidal Bore
We travel the narrow passage between Strong tide (apply named) and Vantreight Islands. Feel the power of the tide under the hull. We push ‘up hill’ against a flood and are flushed through the gap in an ebb. This is your connection to west coast navigation and the abundance of marine life created in these turbulent waters. 
WAYPOINT 5: Intertidal zones
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 urchins. Kelp forests are also powerhouse storage facilities for Co2, which means they have a big impact on the health of our planet. We’ll bring some kelp on board Ecosphere I to get up close, to touch, smell and taste (perhaps!).
WAYPOINT 6: Who’s Out There?
From sea 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 7: A Spring Feast for the Eyes
Griffen Island is returned to its natural condition. Most of the invasive species (broom, ivy, blackberry) were removed by dedicated teams of volunteers. In Spring the wildflowers bloom (Blue Camas, Chocolate Lilly), and birds and insects feast on the bounty while seals laze on Griffen’s rocky shores. This marine protected area is best observed through binoculars and from Ecosphere 1 as we glide along close to the shoreline powered by our electric engine.
WAYPOINT 8: The Light and the Lone Wolf

On the South West corner of Discovery Island stands the remains of the lighthouse built in 1886 atop Pandora Hill. The highest point on the island. The old buildings remain and perhaps one day will find a new purpose. We will spend some time drifting and noticing the life in the sea and above. Takaya the lone wolf is memorialized with a mural and sculpture. Can you find them? The story of Takaya, an abandoned lighthouse, the Songhees First Nation, and another Island inhabitant collide at this site and provide us with an opportunity for conversation and reflection.

WAYPOINT 9: Beach Landing and Forest Walk
Let’s go ashore! Our landing craft will set you easily onto the beach where you will explore the sand, drift logs, and bordering forest. See what a natural shoreline looks like and discover clues to 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 your lunch while sitting on a drift log imaging its journey to this place.
WAYPOINT 10: Amongst the Chain Islands Ecological Reserve
Thousands of sea birds (Cormorants, Geese, Gulls) nest and bread on this island archipelago while Eagles and Vultures circle overhead. Seals, otters, and many aquatic animals occupy the craggy shores and swim in the clear waters. We will carefully navigate through bays and passages, our route dictated by the tides and currents, quietly taking in the region’s biodiversity and sheer beauty.
DB+

Tour Information

When you book with us, either via email or by phone, we will email you a complete tour schedule along with your ticket and instructions on what to bring and wear.

WHAT TO BRING

Spring, summer and fall

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Thermal layer
  • Sun hat
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun screen
  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks

  • Optional:
    • Camera
    • Binoculars
DEPARTURE LOCATION

Oak Bay Marina

1327 Beach Dr, Victoria, BC V8S 2N4

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.

Daily Tours

Departing from Oak Bay Marina at 10am.
Phone ahead at (250) 240-0084 to book.

Custom Tours

Our tours are customizable.
From beach cleanups to marine life discovery and even nature walks, we can make an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.
All tours take around 3 hours (depending on variables like tides and weather) and depart from the Oak Bay Marina.

Use the form below to design your journey.

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