Mini Guide to Whale Watching

Mini Guide to Whale Watching

Whales are some of the most majestic creatures that have ever graced this earth. Did you know that the largest dinosaur would have only been half the size of the incredible blue whale? Watching whales is like seeing something much bigger than you are—both literally and figuratively. If you love whales and plan to go whale watching sometime soon, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

When you choose to go whale watching depends on the species you’re hoping to see. The best season to se an orca, or killer whale, is usually in the winter, and humpbacks are typically more viewable September through January. The gray whale is more unpredictable.

Though they are beautiful, whales can be dangerous—they aren’t goldfish! So don’t try to pet a whale if it happens to approach you.  And especially don’t jump into the water to attempt to “swim with a whale.” That’s not only asking for trouble—it’s just nuts!

Bring along the things you’d normally take on a trip—sunblock, sunglasses, water, snacks, and of course, your camera. You’ll want to either dress in layers or bring them with you, including a water-resistant jacket, as weather may be nice or change quickly. If you are prone to sea sickness—or you’ve never been out to sea before—you may also want to bring some kind of anti-nausea medicine, too.

And when you’re taking photos—which you absolutely should, they’ll likely be incredible!—make sure you use a long lens. A good method is to use your continuous shoot option, if you have one, every time the surface breaks; that way you’re sure to land a spectacular picture. You may want to find out more about the whale you’re interested in and what types of movement you can expect so you will be prepared to take the best shots.

Also, in order to protect the whales, the industry maintains several rules. Some of these include making a minimal amount of noise, not swimming with wild dolphins, maintaining a no-wake speed, not surprising whales by approaching them from an angle where they can’t see you, not pursuing the whales themselves, minimizing the number of boats per expedition, and avoiding sudden turns. If you see any of these or other rules violated, be sure to report it to Be Whale Wise.

To learn more about different varieties of whale, where you can go to watch them and other tips, visit