Both right here on and off Vancouver Island. For my birthday in August I wanted to go whale watching. Whales around here are mostly Orca, otherwise also known as Killer Whales. They are highly intelligent, accomplished hunters and friendly to people. For their protection around the islands and surrounding Vancouver Island, whale watching boats may only approach up to 100 yards in Canadian waters, and 200 yards in US waters. The latter being patrolled by US armed wildlife officers. Borders run crisscross throughout the waters. So, the pilots of the small whale watch boats are very careful, not to get fined or have their licenses pulled for infractions to this rule. Plus, the whales need protection from human interference.

The two family of whales we have are the Transients and the Southern Residents. Transients mostly hunt seals and sea lions, they are mostly lonely big time hunters [ http://www.orcanetwork.org/nathist/transients.html ]. The Southern Residents travel in pods, lead by a matriarch [http://bcwhalewatchingtours.com/southern_residents.html] and are hunting salmon. We were lucky to have glimpses of some of the Transients, they can go down into the water for up to 20 minutes, then come up for breathing. Different for the Resident whales. Next time I will attempt near Victoria to go out. We took off from Sidney Harbour [http://www.vancouverisland.com/regions/towns/?townID=43 ] , northern part of Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, and traversed towards the American San Juan islands. It was my lucky day. I met a family of tourists from incidentally the city in Europe where my grandmother and mother are from. In fact they live around the corner from that same street. Myself not been there for 48 years. We shared the whale watch boat. 
 

After that I visited the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. What a treat ! A jungle paradise has been created inside the Gardens, where large numbers of butterflies and moths from all over the world are flying freely. There are also special bird species, and Koi fish and flamingos in the little streams, as well as giant turtles. Arriving at the Gardens I ran into my good friend who was there with her friends, so we could share this incredible uplifting experience.

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