1 - Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia - Swim with the Whale Shark in the warm and clear waters with the whales dubbed the gentle giants of the sea. The Ningaloo Reef is a pretty unique location in that it regularly sees large numbers of whale sharks and the reef is close enough to the shore to snorkel. Whale sharks grow up to 12 meters in length and a comforting thought is that they don’t have the usual shark sharp teeth! 2 – Antarctica – The natural wilderness of Antarctica is an incredible setting to witness humpback, orca (also called the killer whale) and minke whales in the waters. Also among the icebergs, glaciers and mountains are other whales such as the fin and sei and other wildlife and birdlife can be seen. 3 – Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland - Olafasvik and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula are the places to be to witness humpbacks and blue whales feeding off Iceland’s west coast. These and also minkes, sperm whales, orcas, basking sharks and dolphins can all be seen during the summer months when they come closer to land, 4 – Plettenberg Bay, South Africa – this spot is absolutely unique as it is one of the few remaining locations to see the incredibly rare Southern Right Whale and its here that many whales come to calve. The Southern Right Whales very often come close to shore, usually between August and November. Around the region, throughout the year, you can also spot Bryde’s whales, killer whales and dolphins. 5 – San Diego, USA – watch the amazing spectacle of 25,000 Gray Whales on their annual migration as they pass by the San Diego coastline. They travel from Baja and the Arctic Sea between December and March and are only six off the coast. Gray whales travel in groups and keen spotters will see them rise gracefully from the waters. This population of Gray Whales is the only surviving group in the North Pacific. 6 – Donsol, Philippines – There are large numbers of Whale Sharks to be found in the waters around the Philippines and tourists are now swimming in the sea with them. Whale sharks congregate here from October to February and are the world largest fish. They are also pretty friendly creatures, which is certainly good news if you are one of the visitors that are swimming or snorkelling with the whale sharks. 7 – Digby’s Neck, Canada – watch the annual whale migrations at Digby’s Neck on the tip of Canada’s coast. Minke, humpback and blue whales pass by the coast and keen spotters can see the whales jumping and splashing among the icebergs, often seeking a mate. This list is certainly not definitive and any additions would be very welcome! Its also worth while pointing out that is you are embarking on a whale watching trip ensure you use a reputable specialist tour operator based ideally in the local country. This ensures the money paid for the trips supports the local communities and the local marine conservation. Also these operators will work within their local conservation guidelines and ensure they do not endanger the animals or habitats.