Tag: Whale WatchingView All Tags
Although it's too chilly to swim on the West Coast, it's just perfect to hit the water and do some whale watching. In San Diego, whale-watching season runs through April, and you can spy gray whales as they migrate to Baja California. We tried it out for the first time recently and came back with tips to ensure you have a whale of a time (har, har).
Check out our top five whale-watching tips this way:
Whale watchers, grab your binoculars. As whale watching winds down on the West Coast, whales are being spotted on the East Coast.
On the west coast: San Diego's whale-watching season usually ends in the first week of April, but this year it's been briefly extended. For one last chance at whale spotting, San Diego Harbor Excursion will offer tours through April 11 and Hornblower will hit the water with its own cruises through April 18.
But the best spotting is on the east coast, after the jump
Plenty of marine mammals call the islands of Hawaii their home, but humpback whales usually only swing by during the winter. After all, wouldn’t you winter in Hawaii if you could afford it? To celebrate their arrival, the Pacific Whale Foundation has created the Maui Whale Festival; however, it’s not just a one-day thingit’s more of a whale month.
There’s many options to both enjoy and support the whales throughout February and into March. February 20 welcomes the Parade of Whales where floats filled with all things whale will be on display along Alanui Keali’i Drive. Awards will be handed out in several categories, so expect a lot of creativity and a few off-the-wall entries.
When autumn rolls around, tourists desert the sandy shores of California. What they don't realize is that when beach season ends, whale-watching season begins. The best time to see whales in Cali is December through March, when about 20,000 gray whales, up to 50 feet long and 45 tons each, swim 6,000 miles south from Alaskan waters along California's coastline to breeding waters in Baja. Groups of whales stay close to the shoreline to avoid predators, logging 70 to 80 miles daily.
You can whale watch up and down the coast and California State Parks are some of the best places to shout, "Thar she blows!" Humboldt Lagoons State Park, Patrick's Point State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County are all good whale-watching locations. MacKerricher State Park, three miles north of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County, is another place to spot 'em. Plan your expedition during the Mendocino and Fort Bragg Whale Festivals, March 6 to 7 and March 20 to 21, respectively, so that you can partake in guided whale walks, whale boat tours, chowder tastings and art exhibits.
More perfect whale-watching locations after the jump.
The coast of Western Australia is getting busy: the whale watching season is underway and early sightings suggest that not only has the season started early, but there are more whales than there've been in decades.
Commercial whaling in Western Australia finished up in 1963 with just 500 humpback whales left in the waters, but estimates now put the number of whales that will swim the 8,000 miles from Antarctica to the north of the state at around 17,000. Good work, whales!
Whale watching trips run all up and down the coast and from the capital Perth, too – grab a two-hour trip from Hillarys Boat Harbour for A$62 ($50), or head south to Albany for three-hour cruises that let you come on board again in the unlikely event of no whales showing up.
The only thing that seems to be growing faster than the whale population is the population of whale-watchers. Tourism peeps in West Oz say tourist numbers are growing by 15% every year so you need to hurry to avoid the crowds.
Americans may be frantically trying to shed gas-guzzling SUVs, but over in Iceland, they've already got the alternative fuel thing figured out. With eighty percent of the nation's energy supplied by pollution-free hydrothermal power, Iceland may be he easiest place on earth to plan a carbon-neutral vacation. (Just don't think about the flight there.)
In 2003, the world's first hydrogen fuel station opened in Reykjavik, and Iceland has set an ambitious goal of converting the country's entire transportation fleet to hydrogen power by 2050. Now, Hertz Iceland is the world's first company to offer hydrogen-fueled rental cars. You'll have to be lucky to nab one of the converted Toyota Priuses--Hertz only has three, though more are on the way.
There's no reason to start burning fossil fuels when you head out to sea, either. Just catch a whale watching tour on the good ship Elding, the very first hydrogen powered commercial vessel, which started sailing in April. Whale watchers say the €43 ($66) trip is among the best going, as the crew can shut the hydrogen engine down so passengers can easily hear the whales swim and blow--hard to do over the roar of a diesel engine.
It's Summer Somewhere / It's-Summer-Somewhere / Maui Travel / Hawaii Travel / Whale Watching / Active Travel / → All Tags
As many of our readers (and, ahem, writers) battle winter temps, icy rain and dark afternoons this time of year, we thought we'd offer a little daily inspiration with our new "It's Summer Somewhere" series.
We'll kick things off with Maui, where today's high temperature is forecast to be a steamy 80 degrees. Head there this week and align your trip with the upcoming Surf & Sand 15K and 5K, next Sunday. Yep, that's right, you can go to the beach and still keep your resolution of staying fit. You'll have a week to rest up before the 9.3 mile run that's all been strategically arranged to take place downhill, ending in Lahaina with a big ol' luau.
Another awesome sight to take in right now in Maui is the annual winter migration of the humpback whales, who are making their trip from Alaska to Hawaii for their own winter getaways. Book a day trip on the ships of the Island Marine Institute, which have credentialed naturalists on board and live, underwater Whale Cams so passengers don't miss any of the action.
Aaaah, summer. It's only (officially) a mere five months away for most us--after we get back from Maui of course.
We don't wanna get all political, but quite frankly, we're not that keen on the idea of the Japanese catching too many whales. That's why we're quite pleased to hear that a Sydney cruise company has come up with a very friendly plan to try to dissuade them from doing so.
Whale Watching Sydney offers a couple of hundred trips every year to Australians and tourists who want to see humpback whales migrate along the coast between May and December. From next season, any tourist showing a Japanese passport will be able to take a whale watching cruise for free.
The company is basing this huge giveaway on the premise that "very few tourists favored whale hunting once they saw the mammals in the wild", so giving Japanese visitors a free trip should help some of them change their minds about Japan's policy. If you're not Japanese can you still get a free cruise just by turning up and saying you're pro-whaling?
We already know about the popular whale-watching in spots like Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii but we haven't heard much before about South Africa. That is until we found out that the town of Hermanus is hosting the Hermanus Whale Festival this weekend that celebrates the Southern Right Whale.
The festival kicks off September 21 and lasts for three days. And what a jam-packed three days it is. We, even at the height of our whale-worshipping and aspirations to be a marine biologist in 5th grade, couldn't imagine devoting this much to whales.
For starters, this festival goes beyond whale-watching. Sure, you can watch whales whenever you want either by "land, sea, kayak, plane, guided walk, guided boat based watching," but the weekend is also billed as an enviro-arts festival that:
Focuses on raising environmental awareness and showcasing established and emerging local musicians and talent.
On Saturday, join in on the Welcome Whales Waves where groups of people follow a band to form a human chain on the Cliff Path and perform a special wave to the whales "for the television and media cameras."
Throughout the weekend, there will also be a children's carnival, a "Whales n' Wheels" car show, a Whale show at the Whale museum, a Battle of the Bands type of concert, soccer games, more music concerts, a half-marathon and even a golf tournament. Let's just hope there is no "whale-tastings" going on.