Whale watching tours
What is whale watching? It is a practice that belongs to the ecotourism industry. This practice involves either observing whales from specific sites or offering whale watching tours on a boat.
These guided tours offer educational information on various whale species. While most of these tours are based on educational purposes, they can also be used for scientific studies or as a tourist attraction. After all, such species as the humpback whales can offer some acrobatic performances during breaching or tail slapping.
Whale watching tours are partly responsible for sensitizing people to the importance of protecting these cetaceans against the whaling fact. What is the history of such a practice?
Well, it all started in 1950, following the declaration of the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego; the site was also named as an official spot of observation of Grey whales. In fact, it became so popular that in 1955, people paid a $1 fee to embark on whale watching tours in that region. It became so popular that during that year, such an industry attracted 10,000 tourists. Such a tourist attraction also benefited its local business such as accommodations, restaurants and souvenirs shops. The whale watching tours spread throughout the west coast during the following decade.
In 1971, the Montreal Zoological Society started whale watching tours on the St. Lawrence River to observe Fin whales and Beluga whales in their natural habitat. In the 1970's, New England started to use whale watching tours on the East coast, which quickly spread out on that side of the United States. In 1985, there were more profits related to the whale watching tours in New England than California as humpback whales' acrobatic behaviors such as breaching and tail slapping were big crowd pleasers.
Throughout the 1980's and the 1990's, the whale watching industry spread around the world. In fact, Erich Hoyt completed the largest study on the whale watching industry in 1998, which concluded that this commercial industry that is part of ecotourism was used in 87 countries and that over 9 million tourists spent about $1 billion on whale watching tours and its supporting industries such as accommodations, restaurants and souvenirs shops. He even predicted that 11. 3 million tourists would go on whale watching tours, which would generate more than $1.4 billion to whale watching tours and its supporting industries.
Such a popular demand has raised questions about the best way to use whales as a natural resource, which puts a whole new perspective on the whaling fact.
Whale watching tours can be offered on land from specific areas, in the air in both helicopters or fixed-wing aircrafts, kayaks, motorized rafts, sailboats, retired fishing or whaling boats. The fees vary from $7 - $8 an hour up to $3000 for a two weeks period.
The best whale watching tours are the ones that either offers a guided tour held by a naturalist or when a variety of information is given to patrons. It is recommended to read about these cetaceans in order to get to know them a lot better. The type of information that you can expect is related to the whale species that you will be able to observe first hand, their behavior and their natural habitat.
If you have the opportunity to go on a whale watching tour, I recommend that you do it more than once as every trip is an experience in itself. Also, you should go well prepared for the trip. Bring sunscreen, some pants, runners, a sweater and a waterproof jacket or poncho. It also never hurts to bring gloves and a scarf at the temperature on the open water can be down by ten to twenty degrees compared to the temperature in town. Also ensure that you have pills for motion sickness as it may be the only way that you will ever enjoy the trip.
If you intend to bring children along for the trip, make sure they understand what to expect on this trip and what kind of behavior is expected of them. Numerous children have a hard time giving up their freedom even if it is only for an hour or two.
Whale watching tours are available in several regions. In the Northeast Atlantic, you can observe blue whales and sperm whales in the coastal waters of Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Spain and France. Amongst other places you can find: California, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Norway and Japan.
Amongst the various whale species that you can observe are belugas, humpback whales, grey whales, fin whales, Minke whales and sperm whales. If you wish to learn more about whales, I invite to visit the homepage of this site called: whales.