Floating on the open sea may not be for everyone but when it comes to whale-watching, the open water is definitely the best place to get that close-up view many people seek. With an abundance of whales, porpoises and other sea mammals, a whale watching tour can be beyond exciting.
Whale-watching usually means the recreational observation of whales and other marine life in their natural habitat. Whale watching is an activity that is enjoyed around the world, and for the average tourist, organized whale watching tours are usually the most efficient and preferred way to see the natural beauty of sea creatures.
How to Chose a Whale-Watching Location
Many people find that adding a whale watching tour to their holiday is an exciting and adventurous way to spend a day. With approximately 79 different species of whales in the world, each one having its own migratory pattern, it’s important to plan a whale-watching tour. Choosing a company and planning such an activity will heighten your chances of success.
Depending on where in the world the tour begins will also depend on when one should plan to go, so it is important to have a location chosen to ensure successful whale-watching. Here are the more notable locations and migratory months for whale-watching around the world. For those active travelers who get around and are trying to plan a whale watching tour, perhaps a whale guide may help decide where preferred destinations are.
Locations for Successful Whale-Watching
The Northeast Pacific plays host to Orcas or Killer Whales May through October in different parts of British Columbia, Canada. This lush area of sea-life is also home to Humpback whales, California and Steller sea lions as well as elephant and harbor seals, Grey whales and many sea and river otters. The month of June is prime migratory season for Humpback whales and White-sided dolphins off the shores of Brier Island in Nova Scotia.
The Northwest Atlantic portion sees their season start in mid-April and continue into October. In Eastern New England one can witness Minke and Fin whales as well as Humpback and North Atlantic Right whales. Moving down the coast to Virgina Beach where whale watching is a winter activity, one can take in magnificent views of Humpback, Fin and Right whales from the end of December into mid-March. Other areas from San Francisco to Portland to Seattle and all the way to Alaska also offer a wide array of whale-watching tours.
Mexico is a wonderful place to see whales in the spring, specifically in February and March when the Grey whales have arrived. There are also the whale sharks that make an appearance for a brief few weeks during July and August off the Yucatan Peninsula.
In Africa, Southern Right whales can be found migrating on the western Cape Coast in the town of Hermanus in South Africa from June to November. Plettenberg Bay, in South Africa offers an ecological tour where Humpback whales can be seen during the months of May and June and again from November to January, while Brydes Whales can be found in the area year round.
Humpback Whales can be seen throughout Australia year-round but are specifically abundant in the Queensland area of eastern Australia between late July and early November.
Southern Costa Rica offers two seasons of whale watching. Pilot whales tend to live in the area year round due to the favorable warm water temperatures while the Humpback whales and Sperm whales visit the area in August and December.
The Northeast Atlantic, off the coasts of Iceland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Spain and France, is host to many whale species such as Blue whales, Harbor porpoises, Orcas and Sperm whales. In some areas of Norway, Sperm whales can be seen year round but typically whale-watching tours are offered from May until September.
However, around Spain, the Straight of Gibraltar provides a great migratory route for several species of dolphins such as the Striped dolphin, Bottlenose and Common dolphin along with Fin whales, Orcas, Pilot and Sperm whales.
The towns of Husavik, Hauganes, Dalvik and Reykjavik in Iceland offer whale watching tours for commonly seen Blue whales, Minke whales, Humpbacks, White-Sided dolphin and Harbor porpoises.
The North Indian Ocean plays host to Sperm and Pygmy Blue whales during their migration season which is typically during the winter and summer months. This pattern sees them pass Sri Lanka and over the southern tip of the Maldive Islands as well as over the Philippines. Even though there is no typical migration period for this part of the world, calm waters and summer months have proven to provide the best time for viewing.
In the far Southwest Pacific in New Zealand, onlookers will typically see Sperm whales and Albatrosses from the town of Kaikoura, which provides one of the closest encounters to land than any other part of the world.
Adding a whale watching tour to any holiday is a great way to add adventure as well as come away with an educational learning experience. Being a spectator from a shoreline or experiencing the thrill on the open water will always be something to remember. Each year whale migration habits are updated on websites dedicated to whale watching enthusiasts all over the world.