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Species:

Antarctic Minke Whale
Blue Whale
Bowhead Whale
Bryde's Whale
Fin Whale
Gray Whale
Humpback Whale
Minke Whale
North Atlantic Right Whale
Pygmy Right Whale
Sei Whale
Southern Right Whale
Beluga
Dwarf Sperm Whale
False Killer Whale
Killer Whale / Orca
Long-finned Pilot Whale
Melon-headed Whale
Narwhal
Pygmy Killer Whale
Pygmy Sperm Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Sperm Whale
Baird's Beaked Whale
Blainville's Beaked Whale
Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Gervais' Beaked Whale
Northern Bottlenose Whale
Sowerby's Beaked Whale
Tropical Bottlenose Whale
True's Beaked Whale
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Fraser's Dolphin
Heaviside's Dolphin
Hector's Dolphin
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin
Irrawaddy Dolphin
Long-beaked Common Dolphin
Northern Right Whale Dolphin
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin
Risso's Dolphin
Rough-toothed Dolphin
Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Spinner Dolphin
Striped Dolphin
Tucuxi
White-beaked Dolphin
Amazon River Dolphin / Boto
Franciscana
Burmeister's Porpoise
Dall's Porpoise
Harbour Porpoise
Vaquita

Trip type:

Listen to whale song
Listen to whales and dolphins
See a whale's tail
See leaping dolphins
See leaping whales
Showered by whale blows
Swim with them in the wild
Watch dolphins only
Watch whales and dolphins
Watch whales only

Facilities:

Access to wheelhouse
Carbon neutral
Deck with 360?vision
Disabled access
Hands-on materials (bones, shells etc)
Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper
On board hydrophone
On board video
On-site visitor center / museum
Onboard research
PA system
Posters / displays / maps
Public participation in research
Reading material available
Restrooms / toilets on board
Scenic backdrop to encounters
Snacks / drinks
Support conservation
Swim / snorkel included
Use a code of conduct

VENTURA|nature emotions | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Madeira Islands , Portugal
25 reviews
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin • Blainville's Beaked Whale • Bottlenose Dolphin • Bryde's Whale • Cuvier's Beaked Whale • Rough-toothed Dolphin • Sei Whale • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sowerby's Beaked Whale • Sperm Whale • Striped Dolphin
Whole year

ventura|nature emotions is a nature tourism company based on Madeira Islands, Portugal with a clear ambition – organize whale & dolphin watching tours, birdwatching tours, and outdoor activities around Madeira Islands. Read more

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Fins 'n' Flukes | Whale Watching

Ha'apai, Tonga
23 reviews
Humpback Whale • Minke Whale • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Spinner Dolphin
Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct

Ecofriendly whale watching and swimming tours from July to October with a strong focus on protection of the marine environment as a whole and the endangered Tongan whale population in particular. Read more

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Conscious Breath Adventures | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
20 reviews
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin • Bottlenose Dolphin • Humpback Whale • Pantropical Spotted Dolphin
Jan • Feb • Mar • Apr

Join us as we swim with humpback whales on the Silver Bank, in the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic, the ultimate whale experience! You will meet humpback whales face to face during this life-list excursion. Live your dream! Read more

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Eye to Eye Marine Encounters | Whale Watching

Far North Queensland, Australia
20 reviews
Bottlenose Dolphin • Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin • Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin • Irrawaddy Dolphin • Minke Whale • Spinner Dolphin
Jun • Jul

For the ultimate whale watching adventure swim with dwarf minke whales on the Great Barrier Reef! Our trips focus on sustainable whale interactions and great snorkelling/diving on coral reefs - a unique mix that guarantees the trip of a lifetime. Read more

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Whale Watch West Cork | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Ireland
18 reviews
Fin Whale • Harbour Porpoise • Minke Whale • Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct • Nov • Dec

During the early part of the season we run dolphin & whale watching tours in the morning and during the afternoon leaving at 9.30am and 2.30pm respectively. During the high season, July and August we will run early morning tours and evening tours that... Read more

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AK Wildlife Cruises

England, United Kingdom
15 reviews
Bottlenose Dolphin • Fin Whale • Harbour Porpoise • Long-finned Pilot Whale • Minke Whale • Risso's Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin • White-beaked Dolphin
Whole year

We are one of the UKs premiere Whale and Dolphin tour operators specialising in taking out small parties on our well appointed boat Free Spirit. Our wheelhouse cabin is centrally heated with seating inside and out for all. Read more

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Espaço Talassa | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Azores, Portugal
14 reviews
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin • Blainville's Beaked Whale • Blue Whale • Bottlenose Dolphin • Bryde's Whale • Cuvier's Beaked Whale • Dwarf Sperm Whale • False Killer Whale • Fin Whale • Gervais' Beaked Whale • Humpback Whale • Long-finned Pilot Whale • Minke Whale • Northern Bottlenose Whale • Pygmy Sperm Whale • Risso's Dolphin • Rough-toothed Dolphin • Sei Whale • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sowerby's Beaked Whale • Sperm Whale • Striped Dolphin • True's Beaked Whale
Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct

Dolphins and Whales watching in Lajes do Pico since 1989. For over than 20 years we have always in mind that Homo sapiens dream could be cetacean nightmare, Read more

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Sea Life Surveys

Scotland, United Kingdom
13 reviews
Bottlenose Dolphin • Harbour Porpoise • Minke Whale • Risso's Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Mar • Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct

Sea Life Surveys is the UK's first and most experienced whale watching company. Read more

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HEBRIDEAN WHALE CRUISES | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Scotland, United Kingdom
11 reviews
Bottlenose Dolphin • Harbour Porpoise • Killer Whale / Orca • Minke Whale • Risso's Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Jan • Mar • Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct • Nov • Dec

Daily Whale watching/wildlife cruises/tours from the beautiful fishing village of Gairloch nestled in the Torridon mountains with superb scenery and the crystal clear waters of the North Minch. Read more

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Swimming with Gentle Giants | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Vavaú, Tonga
10 reviews
Bottlenose Dolphin • Humpback Whale • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sperm Whale • Spinner Dolphin
Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct

Swimming with whales, snorkelling coral reefs and caves in the tropical weaters of Tonga for 8 days on the water during beginning of August until Mid October. price for average tour is $3165, inclusive of charter, crew, guide, lunches, airport transfers. Read more

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What is whale watching?

Whale watching is the practice of observing whales, dolphins and porpoises (otherwise known as cetaceans) in their natural habitat. Whale watching is a truly inspiring recreational activity capable of supporting scientific research, conservation efforts, and educational experiences.

Is it possible to get close to whales and dolphins without disturbing them?

The short answer is yes, but only if you travel with a high quality, sustainable operator. Planet Whale intends to help you find such operators easily by implementing a rating system that will lead you to the most sustainable operators when you search for trips. It’s coming soon, but in the meantime, here are five principles to sort the best from the rest:
  1. Operator follows a code of conduct for approaching whales and dolphins
  2. Professional (experienced) naturalist guide onboard
  3. Supports marine conservation or conducts scientific research
  4. Doesn’t guarantee spectacular encounters on every trip
  5. All staff sound friendly and knowledgeable when the booking is made

Where can I see whales and dolphins?

Many people think that whales and dolphins are only present off far-flung tropical islands or inaccessible polar seas. In fact, they are present in all of the world’s oceans and some of the biggest rivers. Trips now run from over 100 countries to watch many of the 81 species found worldwide. Planet Whale has the most comprehensive directory of trips online, so now you can easily find the nearest trips to you!

When should I go whale watching?

Some whales and dolphins remain faithful to a local area year-round, whilst others swim half way across the globe between their winter breeding and summer feeding grounds. Somewhere on the planet, somebody will be whale and dolphin watching every second of every day of the year, enabling you to go whale watching when it suits you.

How do I find the best whale watching trip for me?

To take a whale or dolphin watching trip could hardly be simpler through Planet Whale, where you can search by location, species, month or type of experience. Planet Whale is the best place to compare operators directly and read reviews from like-minded people.

Can I organise my whale watching trip around my other holiday plans?

Absolutely! Many of the best beach resorts around the world double up as important whale watch destinations, including in Hawaii, Queensland, California and the Canary Islands. Prefer a city break? You can still go whale watching, from Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, San Francisco and many other great destinations!

Do I need to reserve my trip in advance or can I just show up on the day?

Whale watching is unpredictable in many ways so putting time into planning your trip often pays off. Check with the operator to see whether you need to reserve tickets in advance. Some trips are very popular, particularly at weekends or during holidays, but if ticket reservation is not required, this gives you the flexibility to check on the weather before making a final decision. Don’t be afraid to phone up operators and ask them what they have been seeing over the last few days. Several operators based in the same location may have different itineraries and, consequently, could be encountering different animals.

How many trips should I take?

Many people spend considerable resources on travel and accommodation in order to go whale watching and then only take one trip. Whilst this may satisfy the curiosity of some, it is unusual for a return trip to result in exactly the same type of encounters. Why not take two, three or even four trips out with the same operator on the same day, or over several days. Not only are you likely to see different animals, species and behaviours, but by building up a rapport with the crew you may gain a greater insight into the animals and the lives of those people who make a living from the sea. If you do decide to take several return trips, try to negotiate a discounted rate in return for your multiple booking.

What other useful info should I obtain before deciding which trip to book?

All operators listed in the Planet Whale directory are encouraged to provide answers to the following questions. If they don’t, call or email them to double check:
  1. How much does the trip cost?
  2. How long does the trip last?
  3. What type and size of vessel do you use?
  4. Is the trip designed for whale watching, or is whale watching just part of the tour?
  5. When and from where do you depart?
  6. Is there a professional naturalist guide onboard? This is an important influence on the quality of your experience. A good guide will provide information on all of the wildlife of the area and how to identify them.
  7. Is the boat used for whale or dolphin research and do you contribute to the conservation of the animals that you watch?
  8. Do you follow a code of conduct for approaching whales and dolphins
  9. How often do you see whales and dolphins, which species and when?
  10. How many people do you carry per trip and are you confident that there will be enough reservations for the trip to run?
  11. Do you provide a free return ticket if no cetaceans are seen?

What can I do to avoid seasickness?

To avoid seasickness it is important to remain hydrated with a full stomach so take plenty of non-alcoholic drink and snack food with you. If you feel seasick, it can help to eat even if you don’t feel like it. Much of a whale watching trip may be spent travelling to and from key hotspots, so keeping your mind occupied can really help. You may wish to read a book, look for seabirds and other marine life or simply watch the sea in its ever-changing form. Whale watch operators will often ask for your help in searching for whales and dolphins. With perseverance you may well be the first to spot something!

How do I protect myself from the weather?

Being cold, wet, and miserable can take the edge off a spectacular whale or dolphin encounter. Fortunately, such situations can largely be avoided by wearing the correct clothing and packing the right equipment for the trip. The most important considerations are the bare essentials: warm dry clothes, food and water. Even if it is a hot calm day on land, weather conditions at sea can be deceptively cool and changeable. Try to dress for all weathers. Take several layers of clothing, which will improve insulation in cold weather and give you several options if it is warm. Always think ahead. Once you have a chill it can be difficult to warm up even with extra layers of clothing so put warm clothes on as soon as you start to feel cold. A warm hat will prevent around 35% of your body heat being lost through your head. Windproof or waterproof clothing is essential. In sunny weather, a cap, sunglasses and sun cream are advisable for protection.

HWDT shop

Visit our Shop and Visitor Centre in Tobermory, or shop online at www.hwdt.org. All purchases will directly contribute to our research and education programmes.
Read more...Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust

Museum and gift shop

We have a museum and gift shop at our research station on Grand Manan island. Please stop by if you visit the island!
Read more...Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station

Whale DVDs, CD & Book

Visit our shop for a range of DVDs, an amazing whalsong CD and a book about the Eastern Australian Humpback whales. all sales support our research program. Thanks for your support.
Read more...The Oceania Project

Life-sized animals

Environmental education is about creating connections. But how to do this when the ocean is far? Hang up my life-sized cetaceans and see the amazement in your audience’ faces: “Wow, I didn’t know that they are THIS huge!" Contact:utscherter@ores.org
Read more...ORES Research and Education: Passionate about minke whales
 
2013 Responsible Whale Watch Partnership:Click here to read more about the partnership