People who go whale watching usually travel out to sea on boats, in order to attempt to observe whales in their natural habitats. Generally, this type of activity is recreational, but it may also happen for purposes of scientific research. At this point in time, whale watching is definitely big business. In fact, people spent more than two billion dollars observing whales in 2009. While some disapprove of the whale watching industry, it currently employs over 13,000 staff members, thereby giving tourism industries (in areas where whales are present) a consistent boost.
There are never guarantees that whales will be spotted during whale watching expeditions. However, people are willing to take the risk, in order to have the opportunity to see these majestic mammals as they move through the waters. Most people who go whale watching are dazzled by the size, scale and beauty of whales. Examples of whales observed during whale watching outings include blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales and humpback whales.
History of Whale Watching
Whale watching began in the 1950s. The first venue for spotting whales was found in San Diego, California, near the Cabrillo National Monument. In later years, water-based whale watching gained popularity, in San Diego and elsewhere. The first whale watching expeditions would typically cost only a dollar per trip, and they would attract thousands of interested men, women and children every year.
Today, whale watching continues to hold the public’s interest. However, prices for today’s whale watching journeys are considerably more expensive, even when factoring in the relative value of currency (along with the cost of inflation) during both eras. These days, going whale watching generally costs between fifty and one hundred dollars (USD).
Whale Watching in the Pacific
Pacific waters are good places to observe whales. One example of a popular whale-watching locale in the Pacific region is Cape Naturalistic. This Australian cape is located in the West Pacific’s Indian Ocean. Australia offers even more areas where whales tend to swim, including Albany, Victoria, Gold-Coast and Portland.
The Eastern Pacific region features a plethora of Humpback whales, which appear in late summer, until the beginning of autumn. Places to spot these whales in the Pacific include Costa Rica, Panama, and Isla Iguana (close to Pedasi). Other Pacific regions that are known for whale-watching include Ecuador’s Salinas and La Isla de la Plata areas.
Whale Watching in the Atlantic
Whale watching in the Atlantic offers excellent access to a variety of species. Examples of places where whales are observed in this locale include the Bay of Fundy (in Canada’s Maritime region) and areas off the coast of Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and France. In particular, the wild and frigid waters of the Bay of Fundy provide thrilling access to whale watching. In all Atlantic regions, ferries and fishing boats often carry whale-watchers out to sea, allowing them to glimpse beautiful Humpback or Blue whales in their own natural habitats.
Spain is a premier locale for this type of activity. Spain’s hot spots for whale-watching include the Madeira and Azores archipelagos. Female Sperm whales who travel with their babies (known as calves) may frequently be found in this area.
Educational and Entertaining Activity
Families often enjoy whale watching, as it provides parents and children with access to some of nature’s most stunning and mesmerizing creatures. In particular, those who are interested in preserving whales from harm (such as hunting and pollution) may seek out whale-watching that is both entertaining and educational.
By learning how whales behave in the wild, and exactly which factors threaten their continuation as a species, parents and children may gain a deeper understanding of what is necessary to effect the long-term survival of the species. Many people who are interested in whale-watching are also advocates for animal right. Examples of groups which work to protect the health and longevity of whales include the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.
Those who seek to educate through whale-watching include teachers, lobby groups, and any people who are interested in sharing the beauty of whales with others. Groups that offer whale-watching will generally do all that they can to ensure that whales are not disturbed by boats and people.
These days, more and more people are enjoying the wonders of these striking species, up close and personal. In terms of providing stimulation, education and incredible photo opportunities, whale-watching is truly in a class of its own.