Whale watching holidays - Holiday Activity Guide
"Whale watching holidays are becoming more and more popular especially as the populations of whales around the world are rising again. At one time whales were hunted so much that they were in danger of becoming extinct. Whale watching tour companies are springing up everywhere and some are so sure of the chances of spotting whales they even promise your money back if there is not a sighting.
What type of whales you may see on your holiday depends on the part of the world you travel to. When planning a holiday centered on whale watching, you need to do some research to find out what kind of whales can be seen where and when is the best time to go. Many whale species migrate from one area to another in different seasons of the year. Their behavior is different depending on their migration patterns. Humpback whales, for example, spend part of the year feeding near both the North and South Pole. Once they have gorged themselves, they move on to the warmer waters near the equator to mate and live off of the reserves of blubber.
Hopefully you will see more than a few dorsal fins off in the distance. The best tours will get you up close and personal to observe their normal behavior like fluking and breaching. A fluke is when a whale lifts its tail high into the air to dive. Breaching is when a whale jumps completely out of the water. These are the perfect photo opportunities."
Suggested whale watching holidays:
Kaikoura, New Zealand.
Kaikoura is on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island and is just about the best place in the world to see giant sperm whales. One of the reasons that the whale watching is so good here is that there is plenty of food, eliminating the need for them to migrate. You can see them all year floating on the top of the water. The boat operators see some of the same whales so often that they have given them names.
You can also see migrating humpback whales off of Kaikoura at certain times of the year, as well as pilot whales, southern right whales, and blue whales. This area is also a great place to see Orcas, the largest dolphin in the world.
Hervey Bay, Australia.
About three hours north of Brisbane, Hervey Bay is sometimes referred to as the Whale Watching Capital of the World. That, plus its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef make Hervey Bay a very popular tourist destination.
Whale watching time here is from July to November when thousands of humpbacks are migrating from the Antarctic.
Cape Cod, USA.
The Cape Cod peninsula is the easternmost point in the northern U.S. and is famous for its good whale watching. Not only are there great tours, you can often see plenty of whales while taking a drive from Plymouth to Provincetown and Barnstable Harbor. The best time is May through October when you can see humpbacks, finback, pilot, and other species of whales, as well as dolphins.
Vancouver Island, Canada.
Vancouver Island in British Columbia is an ideal spot to see killer whales from July through September. Salmon are abundant in the area during these months, providing enough food to make them stay around. The Johnstone Strait is where they are usually found and they travel in pods as large as 30 whales when they are hunting. Tour operators even offer kayaking trips that will take you close enough to give you the thrill of a lifetime.
The Azores, Portugal.
The Azores Archipelago is in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean and is one of the best places in Europe for whale watching. That, combined with the beauty of the nine islands that make up the archipelago and some of the tallest volcanic mountains in the world, makes this a great holiday destination.
From April to October you can see entire pods of sperm whale with their babies, with October being the best month. In the months of February through June you may also see blue whale, killer whales, humpbacks, and several other varieties.
San Diego, California, USA.
Whale watching in San Diego offers one of Mother Nature’s greatest experiences. Each year, around 26,000 gray whales migrate from the Arctic Sea to Baja’s warm waters and then back. They can be seen passing by San Diego from late December through March. Gray whales are one of the largest mammals in the world, so they can be pretty easy to spot. Seeing a creature this size breach may be one of the most thrilling things you will ever see.
Cape Town, South Africa.
The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans converge at the southern tip of Africa, making this an ideal spot to watch migrating whales. From July to December several different types of whales like humpback, killer, and especially southern right whales can be seen. If you plan to whale watch from Cape Town, the best period is the middle of August to the middle of October. The best spot in Cape Town is on False Bay where the waters are warmer.
You can also catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphin and African penguins here.
Tiverton, Nova Scotia.
Tiverton is a tiny village on the northeast tip of Long Island in Nova Scotia. This little fishing town has become a huge tourist attraction because of its location on the Bay of Fundy, which is a summer feeding area for many marine animals, including whales. The whales you can see here in the summer are humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales, and North Atlantic Right whales.
This small fishing port in Norway can provide a memorable holiday because it is full of very unique wildlife. The largest concentration of killer whales in one location is here in Tysfjord, which is anywhere from 400 to 600 whales. The time of the year to see whales here is in the fall. You can also occasionally catch blue whales, sperm whales, humpbacks, and a few other varieties.