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Have you ever seen a massive smooth body rising from under the water, smoothly turning into a huge tail that cuts the waves? Here come the whales! Their power is literally overwhelming. The only sight of their pirouettes takes one breath away. Whales are the largest mammals on the planet, and a meeting with them is an experience you never forget.
The best places for whale watching
Both a small motor boat and a high-speed catamaran are suitable for whale watching. Just make sure that your yacht is equipped with echo sounders. This will allow you to easily detect “large underwater objects” and not plow the seas for hours with no result. Keep in mind that your yacht must approach at a certain distance to the point indicated by the echo sounder in order not to be above the whale, but to be right next to it and enjoy its jump out of the water. Here are the best places where you can see the gray giants in their natural environment.
Crater lakes, rocky coves covered with blue hydrangeas and evergreen forests – welcome to Azores: an archipelago that stretches across the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are considered to be one of the best whale watching spots due to the large variety of mammals. More than 20 species of whales and dolphins migrate past the islands of Pico and Fayal, from where it is best to sail by yacht. The observation season starts in April and ends somewhere in the middle of autumn. When whales migrate in large families, whale cubs swim very close to the yacht. And if, nevertheless, the whales did not delight you with their attention, you can still enjoy the abundance of local wines, sheep’s cheeses and, of course, volcanoes.
For those who appreciate the taste of adventure, an expedition to the northern provinces of Canada is the right decision. Most of the whale routes run between small islands in the Salish Sea, so you can sail from Vancouver up to Victoria. It is here that the most rare and exotic species of whales are found.. May and June are the best times to see narwhals, also known as “sea unicorns,” and bowhead whales. You can add walruses and polar bears as a bonus to whale viewing. Beginning in June, in Churchill, Manitoba, Tadoussac and Quebec, you will be able to take photos of singing belugas. Wildlife, northern lights, virgin lands and freshly caught crabs with garlic butter. Yes, Canada is quite an adventure!
Many people know that The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. However, not everyone realizes that these green shores are the new center for whale watching! Kaikoura or Kaikura is a small town in New Zealand that was once a whaling base. Yet, today the region becomes a center for eco-tourism. The Hikurangi bay rich in plankton and small fish. Thus, it attracts whales all year long! If your route will lie along the northern coast of the island, then the mammals can be observed from the deck of the yacht in the Bay of Islands area. You can also travel by a helicopter, flying around the Whale Island volcano. In addition to whales, other types of marine life are found here – seals and blue dolphins.
Iceland, a land of volcanoes and ice, is considered the best whale watching spot in the entire Europe. More than 20 species of whales and dolphins can be seen here, including minke whales, fins, humpback whales, blue whales and even killer whales! Interestingly, in Iceland, whale meat can be bought in a regular supermarket, just like chicken or pork. Yet, Icelanders do not eat whale meat, as they consider it to be a cruel trade. They believe that whale hunting is a relic of the past and it is better to enjoy watching whales playing in the water. If you want to see Icelandic whales, go to Husavik – meeting them here is almost one hundred percent guaranteed. Even if whales did not show up, you can always explore the rocky shores of Iceland and see puffins – bright birds with orange beaks, which are considered to be a symbol of the country.
If you are not ready to freeze in Iceland for the sake of spotting whales, then the island of Maui in Hawaii is an experience you can’t miss. It is teeming with volcanoes, greenery, delicious seafood and rugby ball-sized avocados. It is worth coming here in January as it is at this time that blue whales come here for wintering from Alaska. They delight observers with their songs, which can be listened to with the help of hydrophones – special microphones that translate whale ultrasound into sounds accessible to the human ear. By the way, if you have a submarine on board of your yacht, then Hawaii will be the perfect place for such a dive and whale watching. In addition to whale-watching, you should climb to the Haleakala volcano, taste the local cuisine and check out the church to see the Bible translated into the local Hawaiian language.
A huge territory overgrown with pines and wild berries, chanting of shamans, northern light and cold waves of the Pacific Ocean is what makes Alaska a place you can’t miss. It is practically impossible to come here and don’t meet a whale or two. Killer whales migrate from California to northern Alaska passing the Glacier Bay, so they often swim in Chatham Bay. Besides, you’ll see hundreds of fur seals, grizzlies and the abundance of birds.
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