Sooke Public Boat Launch

Birds of a Feather Marine EcoTours utlizes over 40 departure locations on Vancouver Island. In the greater Victoria area we typically depart from either Pedder Bay Marina in Metchosin, Brentwood Bay public docks at 899 Marchant Rd, Brentwood Bay, the Sooke Public Boat Launch 6933 West Coast Rd. in Sooke shown below, the Fleming Beach boat launch on 1101 Munro St. in Esquimalt, the inner harbour in downtown Victoria, or Tulista Park in Sidney approximately 20 minutes north of downtown Victoria.

Sooke has two boat launches literally next to each other. Our favourite shown here is owned and operated by the District of Sooke and is located literally at the Best Western Prestige hotel. The pay station machine is located to the left of the ramp, at the end of the utility building and accepts cash and credit cards.  Signage advises users of the ramp and boat launch parking spots. Tickets not displayed on your dash will result in parking tickets. In addition to the standard $10 launch/park ticket the machine also sells resident/non-resident annual passes which purchasers can bring to the municipal hall to exchange for the actual pass decal.

Sooke Public Boat Launch

Humpys, Orcas, Stellars and California Sea Lions all in one afternoon

Every day is a unique adventure out on the Salish Sea but today’s trip stood out. We launched at Pedder Bay Marina in Metchosin to place us close to Race Rocks. As the California and Stellar Sea Lion bulls were entertaining us from their perches on the rock formations we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a dozen or so of these mamoths swimming, diving and porpoising. Then the incredible happened. One of the stellars suddenly sprang out of the water not 40 feet from us with a huge salmon which it had just caught as it breached the surface. The salmon was squirming it the sea lion’s mouth. Just as quickly as the stellar had surfaced he dove again and repeated this motion 2 more times. All the while a dozen or so of his very excited mates were porpoising almost in unison as a group. In 12 years being out here on the ocean that was a first for me. This was just the begginning of our adventure. We had heard reports of 4 to 6 humpbacks in the general vicinity over the past week. As we networked with our colleagues we heard 6 transient orcas were nearby. We spent a bit of time enjoying the orcas before heading out in the direction of the shipping lanes where soon we spotted 4 humpbacks. They put on quite a show for us including some excellent tail flukes. The humpbacks were also very vocal. All this in the space of 4 hours on one of those special autumn days when the seas were calm and the sun was out.