I can’t say that I am sea life crazy, but my daughters love maritime creatures. My younger daughter, Tigerlily, has a particular love for sharks. Her great dream is to see the whale sharks make their passage through the Gulf of Mexico. My older daughter, perhaps an echo of her more thoughtful nature, prefers the Ocean’s great mammals–whales. And, as such, I, a mother with such severe motion sickness that I feel nauseous typing this, have found myself on animal watching adventures in two oceans and one sea. Here are some tips that I have gleaned over many a boating safari, as it were.
Know your Boats and You Kids:
My daughters might love the sea more than me, but they have also gained my serious motion-sickness. (Everyone turns into their mom in the end ;>) Whale watching can be done from a variety of boats. A variety of small boats, like Zodiacs, are fabulous to get close up to the whale. We have seen families that come spilling off the Zodiacs with smiles as big as Jacques Cousteau. But, truth be told, can’t say that I have experienced them. I once got close but then I chickened out. For me, the goal is that the boat is big enough that I only feel queasy enough to take 1/2 a Dramamine. I want to be sentient enough to remember the whales; and any more Dramamine, I would be snoring. That said, there is an upper limit to the size of boat. A very large boat and you will be acres away from your quarry. The ideal boat has one deck and holds about 50 people. This boat will rock less than a Zodiac but still be able to approach the whales.
Know your whales and their season:
Whale watching can be pricey if you take a boating excursion. And, even if you just watch from the shore, there is nothing worse for kids than being disappointed. I am obsessive in my research before even mentioning the possibility of whale watching. First, understand the region that you are visiting. For example, in Saguenay in Quebec, August is THE season. If you go with your kids in December, who knows, you might see a whale. But, if it were me, I would rather be pretty darn sure that we would see a whale. As such, we went in August.
A good whale watching outfit will post sightings. Go back and check their postings for the year before your planned visit. Then check one year and one week before and after your visit, because, well, whales don’t have Google Calendar. Do these journals seem to indicate a good number of sightings? Are they surprised at the number of sightings (so something that might not happen in subsequent years)? Do they mention the frequency […]