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Tips for Whale Watching Asea

Whale Watching Tips When You're Asea

Mixing boats and whales can bring you into pretty close proximity, especially if you're on a small personal craft. As exciting as that might seem, please try to remember that whales are wild animals like elephant and giraffe... We can't predict where they might go or what they might do.

But before we get to our tips specific to when you're doing your whale watching from a boat, a quick review of our general tips for whale watching:

For the best possible whale watching experience:

  • Plan your trip for peak whale watching season
  • Pick a spot that's known for its whale watching
  • Choose a calm, clear day
  • Be patient
  • And things to bring along:
       A good pair of binoculars;
       A camera or video cam with a decent zoom lens;
       Sun screen and sun glasses;
       Warm clothes, in case it turns nippy;
       A picnic lunch, snacks, and something to drink

Commercial whale watching boats are generally skippered by experienced seamen and often carry a wildlife expert who will share information with you about what to look for and what exactly you're seeing when you find something.

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Whale Watching Tips for When You're Whale Watching from a Boat

When you go out on a boat - whale watching asea - whether it's your own or a hired whale watching cruise, there are some extra considerations:

  • Motion sickness

    Is anyone in the group susceptible to motion sickness, or will this be your first time on a boat?

    It's probably a good idea to explore the preventatives and remedies available.

             There are many options these days, from the familiar Dramamine
              to Sea Bands to The Patch and more...

  • Bring or wear rubber-soled shoes for your own safety
    Boat decks can be wet and slippery. It'll really spoil your trip if you fall and break something, or - worse yet- end up overboard!
  •  Consider a hat and/or ear protection

    It can be very windy when you're asea. You'll be more comfortable if you don't get an earache, and views will be better without your hair whipping in your face
  • Head for the upper deck and the starboard (or right-hand) side

    The best place on the boat for viewing the whales is on the upper deck. You'll be above the level of the sea, and it's usually less crowded.

How to whale watch, and what to look for: when you're whale watching, this is how to go about it and what you'll be looking for...

  • Scan the surface of the water rather than looking down into it
  • Look for a blow, or spout (as seen above) - when the whale surfaces after a dive, he'll blow the air out through his blow hole, creating a misty vapor jet
  • Also look for whale footprints, especially if you're on a high promontory - you may be able to spot the glassy mark a whale makes on the surface of the ocean, almost like an oil slick (see photo at Tips for Whale Watching)

In addition to the many species of whale you may spot from asea, you may also encounter dolphins and porpoise, sea otters, sea turtles, and plenty of ocean-going waterfowl.

For more whale watching tips and information, click on any of the links below:

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