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Beatrice Sharpe (she/her) is a grade 11 student and Youth to Sea Victoria ambassador. Spending most of her life in Victoria on the coast of British Columbia (BC), she loves everything about the ocean. Which is why she believes there needs to be more voices to protect it. A passionate learner and activist, she has a dream to work in global affairs to change the world for the better. You can find her painting in her room, running around Victoria, or on her website. In this blog, Beatrice describes her incredible journey with the Youth to Sea program.

Youth to Sea Excursion: A Whale Tale

When two humpback whales emerged from the sea, we lost our words. Clicks from cameras and the quiet hum of the idle boat engine filled the icy air. The sunlight caught the black dorsal fins of the whales, making them more majestic than they already were. It was magical.  

Before the whale-watching excursion with Youth to Sea, I had known about whales, but had never seen one in person. I had signed petitions and done research, but it was all behind a computer screen. The animals existed in my head, so some of my efforts felt detached. That all changed with the Youth to Sea whale watching excursion. 

humpback whales youth to sea excursion
Humpback whales

Whale Conservation: Challenges and Solutions 

Before our departure, Aaron Purdy, from the Ocean Wise whale initiative, led us through an activity. Four groups discussed whale conservation issues, including anthropogenic noise, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. 

While these issues were disheartening to discuss, there is hope. Youth to Sea produced viable solutions, thinking like true conservationists. Some included time and place restrictions on boating, enforced by fines, more beach cleanups, ocean cleanups, raising awareness, and recording the location of whales on whaling apps! It gave me hope that even as a youth, I have the power to make a difference. 

Some information about these problems can be found on the Ocean Wise website, at

Photographing the Whales 

On board the Eagle Wing tour vessel, I got my camera ready. The icy cold nipped my hands, but it was worth it. At the front of the boat, I could see everything – Discover Island (Songhees Nation; Tl’ches), mergansers, glaucous-winged gulls, and to my right, orcas. 

youth to sea excursion
Transient (Biggs) Orcas and a new calf

The calf’s blubber was still thin, and as a result, the blood vessels were nearer to the surface of the skin, giving the calf an orange colouration.

Humpback whale - This photo was taken off the coast of East Sooke Park, the unceded territories of the T'Sou-ke and Scia'new Nations. The humpback whale gave a wave of its tail – rare behaviour.
Humpback whale

This photo was taken off the coast of East Sooke Park, the unceded territories of the T’Sou-ke and Scia’new Nations. The humpback whale gave a wave of its tail – rare behaviour.

Reflecting on the Youth to Sea Excursion

The Youth to Sea Victoria program docked at Fisherman’s Wharf with memories in their minds and inspiration in their hearts. To this day, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about ocean conservation and practice my photography skills. After seeing both whales and beating the odds of a 15% chance of sightings, I felt closer to them. After my experience with Youth to Sea, I can now say I know whales. And above everything, I want to conserve the ocean they live in.  

To learn more about how you can help whales, visit: 

Posted March 5, 2024 by Alex Leroux

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