If you have never been to Telegraph Cove before, you might be surprised by what you find. This quaint and quintessential boardwalk community is a blast from the past and a reminder of simpler times. As you make your way down the old wooden boardwalk, you’ll hear the creak of the wood, smell the burning cedar from the salmon BBQ and pass rustic, little cabins that feel like they are from a different time.
When you get to the end, the northeast Pacific Ocean and an adventure into the wild awaits you. The smell of saltwater lingers in the air and as you look from the boardwalk you take in a view of one of the most active and bio-diverse coastal regions in the world. Whether you came to watch whales, find a connection with nature or a connection to yourself, this small community offers it all.
Telegraph Cove is tucked away on Northern Vancouver Island and is one of the world’s number one destinations to see whales in the wild, but why? What makes this area so remarkable?
There is something innately special about being able to see whales in Johnstone Strait and the waters around Telegraph Cove. This is where Orca research began, with the work of Dr. Michael Bigg. Here he conducted the first ever population census on Killer Whales and developed the photo identification system that is used around the globe. It is also the location of our own Stubbs Island Whale Watching, the first Whale Watching company on the coast of British Columbia. The history is rich here and you can feel it.
This feeling hovers in the air as though you could grasp it with your bare hands. It takes a moment to process the impact this area has had. To spend time in Telegraph Cove and watch whales, is “like walking with giants” of the whale world. Here the names of Dr. Michael Bigg, Dr. John Ford, Graeme Ellis and Erich Hoyt are echoes of a time that taught us much of what we know of Killer Whales. It is humbling, the history, the atmosphere, the wild. There are not many places left that feel as untouched, as wild and as raw as this one.
There is much more than just history and Killer Whales to discover. We are so fortunate in this region to be able to see the return of Humpback Whales. Humpback Whales were hunted almost to extinction on this coast until whaling this species was banned in 1967. There is also high predictability of seeing Steller Sea Lions, the largest sea lions in the world, Pacific Harbour Seals, Dall’s Porpoise, Bald Eagles and a wide range of sea birds. At some point or another, all of these beings will make this place their home. It is incredible just how much you can see within a 64-kilometre radius and a 3.5-hour tour.
If nothing else Telegraph Cove is a true escape from the ordinary. When sitting at the end of the boardwalk, you can look directly across Johnstone Strait and beyond to the famous Blackfish Sound. If you’re using binoculars, you can catch glimpses of Humpback blows in the distance. On occasion, whales can be seen from the Cove or one of the area’s remarkable viewpoints. There are not many places like this, where you can look out onto the horizon and feel like the rest of civilization is behind you. Where the impact of humans is barely visible, to the point where it can feel like you have been teleported back in time. The air is richer, the wildlife more abundant and a connection to anything outside of nature seems to completely dissipate.