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When to Go Whale Watching: The Best Cities and Seasons

May 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (4)

Even whales prefer to travel in the summer months, and their mass migrations attract larger crowds of human spectators across the globe. From humpbacks to minkes and grays to sperm whales, there's plenty of variety to these giant mammals and plenty more places to spot them in their natural habitat.

In general, right now is the season most whales are on the move, heading to cooler waters to grab a good feed until the temps start to drop again, at which time they head back to warmer water. In the Northern Hemisphere, we're lucky that whale watching season also corresponds with the start of summer travels, but the Southern Hemisphere's winter season might make for a chilly boat ride out to the say "hi" to the gentle giants.

Here's a run-down of the best places and times to spot some whales around the globe:

South Africa: The city of Hermanus is one of the best places to snap a few pics of Southern Right Whales from May to December, with the summer months scoring Humpbacks. The whales come so close to the shore that visitors can watch directly from their hotels.

Ireland: The Emerald Isle is visited by humpbacks and fin whales from summer to autumn. If you're not planning to visit Ireland during this time, you can spy some minkes and orcas year-round.

Brazil: These next few months Brazil is more than just World Cup central, since humpbacks and Southern Rights hangout in the waters off the coast of Salavdor and Santa Catarina. Whale-watching excursions are most popular from Imbituba, considered the country's "Whale Capital."

New England: From mid-Spring through October, the shores of Long Island to Maine become home to northern humpbacks, fins and minke whales. Boat trips to watch them frolic in the waters are regularly offered from many port towns.

Australia: The stretch of coastline from the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay is the center of all things whales, with plenty of spots around the country bragging about sitings from June to November.

Phillippines: Whales can be found around the archipelago throughout the year, but the calmer waters of the summer months attract about 12 different whale species. The Daveo Gulf and Batanes being the center of all whale activity, with the latter also playing host to the most diverse crustaceans in the country.

California: Humpbacks, grays and blue whales can be spotted near the Farallon Islands, just off the SF coast. From spring through fall, the sea mammals call these waters home. The rest of the Cali shores typically even enjoy whales throughout the year.

[Photos: paulcjones/Flickr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr]

Comments (4)

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Whales in alaska?

I was very surprised to see an article on where & when to whale watch around the globe didn't include Alaska. Any info for summer cruisers?

Whale Watching on the Gold Coast, Australia

Don't forget Whale Watching on the Gold Coast in Australia. The Gold Coast is located about 1.5hrs drive South of the Sunshine Coast and boasts the longest whale watching season on the East Coast of Australia. Humpback whales can seen on the Gold Coast from late May through to early November. Whales in Paradise have a reported 100% daily sightings record and have a daily sights report on the front of their website. Check it out at http://www.whalesinparadise.com.au

Whale Watching on the Gold Coast, Australia

Don't forget Whale Watching on the Gold Coast in Australia. The Gold Coast is located about 1.5hrs drive South of the Sunshine Coast and boasts the longest whale watching season on the East Coast of Australia. Humpback whales can seen on the Gold Coast from late May through to early November. Whales in Paradise have a reported 100% daily sightings record and have a daily sights report on the front of their website. Check it out at http://www.whalesinparadise.com.au

Hervey Bay

They have the best whale watching in Australia, you just cant beat it! the whales come really close and they are not being chased like else where in Australia. The whales are relaxed and you might even get to see the rare southern Right whales that have started frequenting the Bay like we did! I cant recommend Hervey Bay highly enough for the best whale watching experience and the nicest of towns, with friendly people.

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