Whale and dolphin watching, news and sightings.
Whale watching has grown from nothing to a multi million dollar industry over the last 25 years. Amazingly, Australia only banned whaling in 1979, and now is one of the most vociferous anti-whaling countries. Whale watching really started in the US, but is now a worldwide industry with nearly 100 countries encompassing all seven continents running some whale watch tourism. Ironically the three countries that still undertake whaling, Japan, Iceland and Norway all have burgeoning whale watching industries. The UK some has surprisingly good whale and dolphin watching, from orcas in the Shetlands, Minke whales off west coast and plenty of dolphins about, there are plenty of opportunities for whale watching around the UK.
Thankfully the whale watching industry has been a great driver in the protection of whales, and as the industry grows it can only be hoped that those countries who still do slaughter whales will see there is more value in live whales than dead ones.
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The other England - the US's New England - is also blessed with wonderful whales and dolphins to see, as Ben Mallion reports.
In two days we had encountered 9 species of cetacean, including rare beaked whales, leaping Bottlenose Dolphins, large tuna, the second largest whale on earth, and ghostly white Risso's Dolphins.
On twenty two whale watching sessions in the first twenty six days of April, Jetwing Lighthouse naturalist Anoma Alagiyawadu saw Blue whales every time.
For many, Belize sounds like a far flung exotic destination, but few can put their finger on its exact location and think of a reason to spend a holiday there.
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The Blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka.
This is one of the best viewing areas in the world with up to 70 whales, including calves, congregating in the seas adjacent to the Bunda cliffs.
- Approach whales from the side, not from the front or the rear.
- Approach no closer than 100 metres and shift your motor into neutral or idle.
- Keep noise levels down - no horns, whistles or racing of motors.
- Start your motor only after the whales are more than 100 metres from your vessel.
- Leave the area slowly, gradually accelerating when you are more than 300 metres from the whales.
- Approach and depart slowly, avoiding sudden changes in speed or direction. Do not "leapfrog."
- Avoid disturbing groups of resting whales.
- Maintain low speeds and constant direction if travelling parallel to whales.
- When whales are travelling close to shore, avoid crowding them near the shore or coming between the whales and the shore.
- Limit the time spent with any group of whales to less than 30 minutes at a time when within 100 to 200 metres of whales.
- If there is more than one vessel at the same observation site, be sure to avoid any boat position that would result in encircling the whales.
- Minimize the time spent and the number of vessels with any one group of whales.
- Limit time, as above, and then move out to allow other vessels access to good viewing positions.
- Coordinate activities by maintaining contact with other vessels, and ensure that all operators are aware of the whale watching guidelines.
- 20th January. 6 Bottle Nose dolphins off Stonehaven. (Courtesy of Ian Sim/Seawatch.)
- November. Humpback feeding off Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, possibly in the area for 2 weeks. Interacting with Bottle Nose Dolphins. (Courtesy of Ian Sim/Seawatch.)
- September. Minke whale found dead on Devon beach.
- August. 2-3 Minke whales off St Abbs Head/Coldingham Bay in Berwickshire.
- August. Minke whale in Fraserburgh Harbour.
- July. Northern Bottlenose whale strands in River Orwell, Ipswich.
- June. Humpback seen off North Devon.
- June. 10 Minke whales sighted off the Isle of Man.
- May. Several Minke sightings off Isle of Man, plus a Sei whale.
- May. Repeated sightings of Orcas off Orkneys
- May. Rare sighting of Bottlenose dolphins in the Channel, click here for details.
- April. Several Orca sightings off Northern Ireland
- April. Fin whale in the Moray Firth.
- April. Orca seen off Isle of Man.
- March. 2 Humpbacks seen off Anglesey/Isle of Mann.
- March. 3 Killer whales seen off Shetland.
- March. Sperm whale strands on Orkney.
- March. 6 Killer whales seen off Orkney.
- March. A pod of 15 Sperm whales seen by fishermen off Caithness.
- January. A pod of nine killer whales seen in the Firth of Forth.
Photos, illustrations, maps, hotspots and plenty of information, by far the best book in its field. Includes information on all whales, dolphins, seals, sea-lions, Polar bears, sea otters, dugong and manatees.
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