Outdoors Information

Whale Watching - The Biggest Show on Earth

Whale watching is a spellbinding, entertaining, and thought-provoking adventure trip. It's a show with the largest mammals on earth as the star performers. Whales are majestic and graceful giants, who's every move seems effortless, choreographed, and yet playful. In this article discover how to get the most out of your trip.

Imagine a lazy summer's afternoon on a boat in a gentle rolling ocean. A good breeze softly massages your face where you sit, and you begin to close your eyes and drift away? the sound of the boat's engine begins to fade and finally stops. The boat, like you, is drifting over the waves and following the breeze. It's very peaceful and calm and after a stressful week you feel in harmony with the world.

Then something explodes? out of the water? and only a few feet from your nose! A 30-ton humpback? the length of a large house... it breaches? and in another second is gone. And you're left in disbelief and wonder.

And it's just the start of your whale watching!

While whales are scattered throughout the world there's only a handful of accessible locations to view them in their natural environment. The coastal waters of New England and the west coast of North America are prime locations for whale watching. Hawaii and South Africa are also superb locations to spot whales, as are the ocean waters around New Zealand.

So if a vacation or trip takes you to any of these areas make sure you book a cruise and take in the largest show on earth.

Here's some pointers to make sure you have an enjoyable whale watch.


In the summer months whale watching is popular and so book early - many tours suggest one week to avoid disappointment.

Whale watching cruises can last anywhere from 3 hours to 41/2 hours. If whales are just playing hard to find, then the captain will make every effort to stay out as long as they can to get a sighting.

While most boats are equipped with a place to buy food and drink they don't usually mind you taking your own pack lunch or snacks. Because it can be a long ride until they find the whales and then back to port take a novel or your walkman and listen to your favorite music, or even whale song CD. If you've got young children take something to keep them entertained as well.


Before you book on a whale watching cruise check into the cruise company. Check out their web site, you'll usually find information about the fleet's experience and staff.

Today most whale watch boats have sophisticated equipment and communications that help the captain find the whales. But if a company has been organizing whale watch trips for many years it's a sign they're doing something right and a safe bet for you.

My most rewarding trips have been when a naturalist or whale expert has been on board to provide information and narrate the tour.


Because of the very unpredictable nature of the whales, they'll be rare occasions when you just don't see any. So make sure you book on a cruise that offers a guarantee sighting or you get to cruise again for free.

Offering a guarantee is another good sign of a confident and experienced whale watch company. But remember if they spot one whale and you weren't watching or somewhere else on the boat when they did - tough!


Whale watching on the open ocean means if you suffer with motion sickness at all then take something about an hour before you board the cruise.

Experienced whale watch cruise captains do not go out in rough seas, but it's not a harbor cruise and the whale feeding grounds are usually miles from land. The open sea can be a little choppy even in the summer months.


Recommended things to bring on your whale watch are a camera and plenty of film or memory cards (if you're digital). If you've got binoculars take them as whales sometimes surface yards from the boat, and having binoculars will give you spectacular views and close ups others without them just won't get.

Wear sneakers or something rubber-soled for good traction on a wet and slippery deck. And take sunscreen, sunglasses, and if it's got a tie strap - a hat.

Because of the breeze and open water there's usually a 15-degree difference from land out in the ocean. So take a sweatshirt or windbreaker just in case, and especially for a late afternoon trip. Also the boats will go out in the rain and if you've got a poncho take it.

The whales are waiting for you. These mesmerizing animals have traveled thousands of miles so you can view them playing and feeding. It's really the biggest show on earth. So go ahead and take the adventure - they don't stay for long.

Cliff Calderwood is the owner and contributing writer of the New England vacations guide . You can read more about whale watching in New England and get a free travel report at his New England vacation site.

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Gander Outdoors offers a surprise as it reopens six Minnesota stores this year
Minneapolis Star Tribune
But another location that was previously thought to be coming back, in Woodbury, apparently won't. Previously, the Woodbury location was supposed to move to a different site across the highway. Marcus Lemonis, chairman of parent company Camping World ...
Gander Outdoors is open in place of the former Gander Mountain in ChambersburgChambersburg Public Opinion

all 2 news articles »

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Ideas for getting out and embracing a Minnesota spring in the outdoors
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The first bookend of the outdoor retailer's two annual expos — the second is in the fall — is a great gateway into a year of paddling, camping, climbing, hiking and adventuring. The event is flush with gear vendors and speakers on a range of topics ...

and more »

San Francisco Chronicle

Streaming your entertainment outdoors after big rains in Bay Area
San Francisco Chronicle
Upper Falls at Little Yosemite. The headwaters of Alameda Creek has been recharged by recent rainfall to create surging stream flows and miniature waterfalls in a pool-and-drop rocky gorge of Little Yosemite at Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness in East ...

and more »

Arkansas Online

Women missing 2 key outdoors cogs - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Online
The Arkansas Razorbacks' women's track and field team is going into the outdoor season ranked No. 1 nationally, but without two of its top performers with Payton Chadwick and Desiree Freier both redshirting.
Women missing 2 key outdoors cogsWholeHogSports

all 6 news articles »

The Durango Herald

She rocks: Outdoor forum celebrates women's role in the outdoors
The Durango Herald
The Women Outside Adventure Forum will begin March 27 Durango with three days of presenters, film screenings, open discussion and a speaker panel all covering topics from the environment, women in the outdoors, climate change and rivers in the west. It ...

Meet News Channel 8 anchors at Outdoors Expo & Boat Show
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Calling all outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers! Florida's largest Outdoor Expo and Boat Show is back with a new venue and some familiar faces. You can meet all of the shining News Channel 8 personalities at the Outdoors Expo ...


Outdoors report: March 23
Galveston - Catches have been fair at best with stiff spring winds. Tides were attempting to return to normal with hard incoming morning currents and ardent east wind. Black drum have been reliable around the channel in Texas City. Matagorda - Guide ...

WDSU New Orleans

Friday evening: Great weekend to be outdoors
WDSU New Orleans
The past two weekends have been hit-and-miss rain chances, but this weekend will be all on the miss side! Sunshine and warmth is expected for the first weekend of Spring. Advertisement. Cloud cover will begin to increase throughout the weekend, along ...


Weathering the storm outdoors in Lompoc
LOMPOC, Calif. - When it rains as hard as it has been, it is probably surprising for a lot of people to hear that some of the homeless who live in the riverbed would prefer to stay where they are instead of coming to the warming center in Peace ...


Outdoors: Admiral obvious
Time again for Admiral Obvious to answer your fishing and boating questions. Digging into his archives the Admiral has found some of the more common questions his readers have asked over the years. Dear Admiral,. When I get a bite and set the hook, the ...

Google News

home | site map | Ocean Photography
© 2006