Once hunted for a variety of reasons, thankfully whales are now more often hunted for photographs. These beautiful large marine mammals are on the must-see list of any avid wildlife fan from around the world. Many places you will travel will offer whale watching tours, however, some areas are better than others in regards to numbers sighted and the natural beauty of the surrounding areas. If you are keen to have an amazing whale watching experience, we believe the following to be the best whale watching locations around the world.
Nunavut, Canada is recommended for viewing beluga and narwhales. Cunningham Inlet is especially popular with the belugas and annually, an estimated 2,000 pass through the area and stay for about a month between July and August. Lacking a dorsal fin, belugas are small, white whales with rounded heads. Though they are common in Arctic waters during the summer months, these creatures journey south in the winter.
The narwhale, which is closely related to the beluga whales, can be found in the waters near Nunavut during the month of June. Narwhales are another arctic species and are also known for their ability to perform deep dives. Their long, pointed tusks distinguish them from the beluga whales. During the Middle Ages, narwhale tusks were often mistaken for the unicorn horns and therefore thought to have restorative powers.
Hervey Bay in Australia hosts a large community of humpback whales from July to October. These baleen whales gather there for their annual summer feeding, before progressing further north to their breeding grounds. Humpback whales have large, sturdy bodies. They can weigh up to 44 metric tons and have an average lifespan of between 45- 100 years. Hervey Bay is located on the Australian coast, about a three and a half hour drive from Brisbane.
The Azores Islands are located off the coast of Portugal and are the perfect spot for watching blue whales during the summer months. Blue whales are a type of baleen whale and also known for being one of the largest animals on Earth. They can live up to 90 years in the wild and measure up to 200 tons in weight.
In addition to the blue whale, the Azores Islands are also home to about twenty different dolphin and whale species. Due to their year-round subtropical climate, these islands would be a good place to go on a vacation. Hot springs, botanical gardens, and lovely beaches can be found in this area as well.
Also located off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Straits of Gibraltar are home to a number of pilot whales year round. These squid-snacking whales are highly social creatures and are known to occasionally beach themselves en masse. Two different types of pilot whales exist: those with short fins and those with long fins. Long-finned pilot whales seem to prefer cooler waters, yet those with shorter fins are more commonly found in warmer locales.
Other activities for visitors in the Gibraltar straits include seeing the world-famous Rock of Gibraltar, visiting St. Michael’s Cave, and climbing the Mediterranean stairs.
Baja California, Mexico has a number of shallow lagoons, which host a number of grey whales between the months of January and April. These baleen whales migrate to Alaska for the summer months. Grey whales are distinguished from other whale types due to their crusty skin coating and the scars on their bodies left from bacteria damage. This breed of whale has two blowholes on the top of their heads. Grey whales can be found in waters from Baja California up to the western United States coastline to Alaska. They can also be found along the Russian arctic coastlines.
Where do you believe are the best whale watching locations around the world?