Recently our family visited a location that’s rich in whales. There are daily sightings of humpbacks, grey whales and more sea lions than I could have imagined. Tourism is their major industry and they do it well. The city appears to be quite safe, the streets are clean, the food is vacation food (coffee and dessert with every meal).
The town we stayed in had endless amounts of outdoor activities in which to indulge. Everything from kayaking and canoeing to biking either on or off-road is available to visitors. The hiking is majestic and the gardens are seemingly always in bloom. Whale watching makes a lot of sense. A day on a boat is always a day well spent.
My family met Jean Michele Cousteau nearly a decade ago and the thing he impressed most upon us was the notion that we are visitors in the ocean. We learned about his friends who were making a movie and their experiences as dolphin trainers. Our hearts broke a little, and many years later that movie would be released as Blackfish.
The problem with education is that you can’t unhear things. When you’ve been introduced to the ocean, which we’ve explored less than outer space, it becomes difficult to abuse it. Every piece of plastic gets a second thought, my face will never look microbead smooth because those settle in the gills of the smallest fish to suffocate them, and there is neither a zoo nor an aquarium that will be covered here. I’m not willing to say that they shouldn’t exist but the arguments that they serve a great purpose have not resonated with me on a personal level.
Many whale watching companies guarantee you’ll see whales during certain times of the year. If you don’t see them you’re free to come back the next day. These are business people not hobbyists, whales will be seen. Unfortunately when you have multiple whale watching outlets in a small area it can look more like a hunt than a viewing. Once a pod is spotted multiple boats circle.
Whales communicate by sonar. Motor boats are noisy, groups of motor boats are deafening. It’s like sticking a child in a small room and just yelling and them. I can’t do it. I can’t encourage my family or my readers to do it.
In Canada whale watching is highly regulated and the ships are required to stay 100 meters from any mammal. Unfortunately when I look at the reviews from the most popular whale watching outfits I see this:
Awesome! I’ve lived on the island most of my life and never saw a humpback whale before. We saw at least three, and we were close enough that the spray from them slapping their tails hit us. We also saw one leap, It felt like we were in a national geographic movie or on the set of an IMAX. I’ll definitely go on this again.
As well, they rent boats to groups, and were very understanding of two of our members having to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Our boat person was very good, and asked us where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.
You can see whales from kayaks. We kayaked and didn’t see any whales and still we had a wonderful day. We’ll kayak again some day soon and if we don’t see whales that’s okay. We know they’re there.