By Judith Scott
All photographs by Judith Scott
Why watch Humpbacks?
Whale watching trips in search of Humpback Whales are amongst the most popular on the planet. So why are Humpback Whales - one of several very large whale species watched by whale watchers across the world - so special?
Where do Humpback Whales live?
Whale watching trips for Humpback Whales are available in the Pacific, Atlantic, Southern, and Indian Oceans. They can be watched on their breeding grounds, which are in the tropics, or their feeding grounds, in colder temperate or polar seas as well as on their migration routes in many areas. Humpbacks spend most of the Spring, Summer and Autumn months in their feeding grounds. In the winter they return to their breeding grounds. So if you fancy a globetrotting whale watch in the month of July, you could watch Humpbacks feeding in cool waters in the Northern Hemisphere while in the Southern Hemisphere you could be watching Humpbacks breeding and nursing their young.
The closest trip to you is...
If you want to see Humpback Whales in the wild there is an incredible choice of destinations. This article highlights some of the most popular.
Watching Humpbacks Down Under
In the Southern Hemisphere it’s rather expensive to reach the main feeding grounds of the Humpbacks off Antarctica, however there are small populations that apparently feed off New Zealand and parts of Australia. However, the main whale watching of Humpbacks in this part of the world takes place on their breeding grounds which are more accessible. Humpbacks breed off the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, the northwest coast of Australia and Tonga. They also migrate along the east and west coasts of Africa and South America to breeding grounds off Peru, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Hervey Bay in Australia is well known as great place to go whale watching with Humpbacks on their breeding grounds. In the breeding areas the highlights of course include seeing young calves but also getting to see ‘rowdy’ behavior, which usually involves a group of males fighting for the right to mate with a female. This can create some exciting surface activity with lots of splashing and interesting behavior. Tonga, like the Dominican Republic, is a country that allows people in the water with the whales. Reports suggest that this activity is not as well regulated here as it is in the Dominican Republic.
Every encounter with a Humpback Whale is special
Wherever you choose to go, when watching Humpbacks you have a good chance of being rewarded with some sort of wonderful surface behavior, surface feeding or a close encounter. However, just seeing a Humpback Whale in the wild, near of far, is an amazing experience that you will never forget!
Search the world for trips to see Humpback Whales here
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