The Rise and Rise of Whale watching
Since the mid 1950s, whale watching has steadily developed in popularity. From small beginnings, there are now over thirteen million people a year joining whale watching trips. These can range from cruises over a number of days, to single trips out in smaller boats. Usually of about three hours’ duration, these smaller day trips set out from places with whale-denser seas, for example the Bay of Fundy and Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.
Reasons for this amazing rise in popularity are many and varied. Possibly one of the greatest reasons is the sheer wonder inspired by the size of these huge, magnificent creatures. Sitting in a moderate sized boat and watching as a huge whale emerges from the waters to tower above you is a powerful and humbling experience. Finding a connection with Nature’s magnificence offers a perspective on life, an antidote to the complexity and stresses of modern day living. Some whale watchers return again and again for this experience, and report that it becomes quite addictive.
Additionally, in an era when even outer space can be explored, and where very little of our own planet is unknown to us, whales are an enigma. Whilst there is much known about how they feed, where they migrate and other physical facts, there is a whole open book as yet undiscovered. We are only just beginning to learn about what makes these creatures tick. There is much ongoing research about their social behaviour patterns, their communication skills, intelligence and emotions. More and more, we are learning of the similarities between our human species and whales. And so, we watch and wonder as whales breach the water and briefly rest alongside us.
Whale Watching: Good for Us – Good for Whales
As whale watching becomes increasingly popular, resulting in people learning more about these amazing creatures, people will become more sympathetic to whales. This can only be beneficial to the causes of conservation and protection. As well as this, where more money can be made from enabling greater numbers of people to watch whales, the incentive to make a living by hunting whales for their by-products is reduced.
However, there is a cautionary note from the WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation). If you want to book a whale watching trip, the organisation states, choose the company with care. The best tour operators will work from a respect for the creatures and their habitat. They will ensure that nothing in their activities poses a danger to the whales that provide their livelihood. But this is not always the case: If the area in which they operate is too densely crowded with boats, this can cause stress and even injury for whales. For similar reasons, the boats should approach the area with care, and not stay too long there once whales are spotted. Reading reviews of companies offering tours and asking pertinent questions should avoid any poor choices.