The meanings behind WASCO and NANUQ

Join us on a trip at West Coast Aquatic Safaris and you’ll step onboard WASCO or NANUQ.  They may just seem like words that are somewhat difficult to pronounce quickly, but they also have very special meanings.

A cedar carving of WASCO

Our 12 passenger vessel WASCO makes frequent trips to the Hot Springs throughout the summer and winter months.  To make this adventure, our drivers will often venture to outside waters which requires a sturdy vessel (of course), an experienced

driver and a little bit of bravery on part of the entire crew.  Fitting, then that WASCO translates into “sea wolf” in the language historically spoken by the people of the Haida Gwaii region of British Columbia.  This mythical creature is a hybrid of both orca and wolf and is the only animal capable of hunting other Orcas.  The Wasco’s ability to hunt both on land and in the water makes it a premier species and ruler of the Pacific Northwest.  Our WASCO (the boat), however, has no intention of hunting Orca’s to kill, but rather to admire and travel with them in the water’s around Tofino.

Tofino is not only a great place to whale watch, but we are also fortunate enough to be able to provide bear watching tours on the Inlet side of Esowista Peninsula.  To honor our healthy local bear population, our second vessel has been named after one.  “Nanuq” frequently spelt, Nanook, is an Inukitut word for polar bear.  In Inuit mythology, the Nanuq was master of all bears.   Nanuq decided which hunters had rightfully prepared for a hunt and could, therefore, be rewarded with a successful kill.  We certainly do not have any polar bears around Tofino, but jump onboard NANUQ and we can show you black bear adults, cubs, yearlings and maybe even wolves!

Nanuq, nanook, polar bear

So, the next time you join us at West Coast Aquatic Safaris you’ll have a better idea of what are boats are all about.  Any ideas or information you might have about NANUQ or WASCO (both the animals and the boats!) are always welcome and encouraged.

Leave a Reply