I have loved killer whales (orcas) since I was at least 2 years old. Maybe longer. My generation was the Seaworld generation and I went as much as my parents could take me. I was lucky enough to have been chosen out of the audience to sit on Shamu (yes you read that right) back before too many lawsuits forced them to stop doing that. Somewhere we have a photo of it but I’d have to find it. Scan and back up your photos guys! 🙂 And keep your printed copies in case you lose a harddrive.

Throwback from our last trip we spent in Victoria in 2001(left) and again in our stop on our Norwegian cruise to Alaska.

Anyways, onto my current trip. My parents took me and my man for my birthday (yay!) for three days. We flew into Seattle where we went to Pike’s Place Market before hopping on the ferry…

pike's place market sign seattle washington

salmon at Pike's Place Market Seattle Washington

Pike's Place market colorful produce

pike's place market seattle post alley

pike's place market sign

northwest us indian totem pole near pike's place market

totem pole near pike's place market seattle

Victoria’s inner harbor

Victoria Canada inner harbor

The ivy encrusted Empress Hotel Victoria Canada

The beautiful and very British looking Empress Hotel.

Victoria Canada Parliament building

The Parliament building.

We wandered around downtown Victoria and visited Victoria’s Chinatown.

victoria chinatown entrance

Victoria BC chinatown buildings

Chinatown Victoria BC building Don Mee

Fan Tan Alley Victoria Canada

The idea of having shops in an alleyway is so strange to me having grown up in a sprawling western city. This is Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, Victoria. My dad thought it was Diagon Alley from Harry Potter… not quite but if it works for him I guess!

market square sign on the side of a brick building in Victoria BC

colorful old shop buildings in Victoria, BC Canada

colorful old buildings in Victoria Canada

Incidentally, there was an international chalk art festival going on, so we strolled through that.

chalk art festival Victoria Canada

girl with a pearl earring chalk painting on sidewalk

international chalk art festival in victoria canada

international chalk art festival victoria canada september 15 2013

guy painting sidewalk with chalk black and white portrait at international chalk festival victoria canada

chalk street portrait of native american woman at international chalk art festival victoria

I like photographing cool churches, even if I’m not particularly religious. This one is a cathedral.

victoria canada cathedral from the outside

inside victoria canada cathedral

I thought these northwest Indian (sorry, I don’t know what tribe) stained glass animals in the church windows were an interesting juxtiposition against the Cathoic scenes on the stained glass elsewhere.

stained glass northwest indian art in cathedral

stained glass northwest indian art in cathedral

We rented some bikes from the hotel and I got a crash course in biking in the city (!) and we biked around town and to Beacon Hill Park.

Goodacre Lake Victoria Canada landscape

We found some peacocks at Goodacre Lake. Do peacocks run wild in Canada, eh?

peacock at Goodacre Lake Victoria Canada

immature redwood tree in Goodacre Park Victoria Canada

This is apparently an immature redwood tree.

We biked along the coast for some awesome views…

victoria coastline and beach

victoria canada northwest coastline with washed up seaweed on shore

northwest coast shoreline victoria canada with yellow flowers

northwest coastline victoria canada beach with dead tree skeleton

And now for the good stuff 🙂

We got into our penguin suits (big ugly orange things that were as we soon tested, wind resistant and waterproof for the most part and pretty warm). I am so glad no one got any photos of any of us in them. Then we drove for what seemed like hours, all the way almost to Vancouver to catch up with a group of transient killer whales and some southern residents that were headed north. Our captain of the zodiac said that it was very rare to see both types of whales so close together. Finally, after probably an honest hour at least of driving, we saw the sourthern residents, some members of J and K pod hunting salmon and the youngsters playing.

killer whale off Vancouver coast

large male southern resident killer whale orca in foggy cloudy British Colombia waters

very large male orca coming towards boat

large male orca surfacing swimming away in British Columbian waters

close shot of large male orca surfacing swimming away off Vancouver

orca fin slipping beneath waves near small boat harbor off Vancouver

The majority of the pod including the young whales stayed very close to shore, only yards from the shorebreak.

members of j and k orca pods very close to shore in British Columbia

southern resident killer whales in setting sun swimming away

We weren’t able to catch up with the transients, which would have been amazing to see, but perhaps next time! It is unusual to see them around especially when the residents were close by. I was so grateful to have had my 70-200 with me (especially the 2.8 since it was late and dark with a storm approaching). I probably should have rented a teleconverter to make my reach even more, but I didn’t want to risk losing the rental.

Coming back was quite the adventure. Both my mom and I were singing the Gilligan’s Island theme in our heads because a small squall hit us and the trip back was cold, bumpy and the rain felt like bullets. I was grateful for the penguin suit because I tied the hood to completely cover my head and looked at my feet the whole way home to avoid the stinging rain. It was so worth it though to see those beautiful whales.

One final parting shot of the Sea-Tac airport food court window.

Seatttle Sea-tac airport food court window with plane taking off

Til next time, Victoria. Seattle, we’ll meet again soon.


Alyssa Campbell Arizona wedding photographer

Welcome! I’m an Arizona-based wedding & portrait photographer specializing in natural and documentary photos. My blog is where you can see my latest work as well as check out tips & the latest news. Following me on social media is another way to check out my recent work!