Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, and the greatest explorers of these waters are magnificent whales. In honor of World Whale Day, we’d like to share some of the places where you can have up-close encounters with these fascinating creatures.
The Sea of Cortez shelters an abundance of marine life and is home to the “Blue Triangle,” an area frequented by blue and sperm whales. On our Baja: Exploring the Sea of Cortez adventure, our home base is an historic vessel. We’ve scheduled special departures to visit the lagoons on Baja’s Pacific side, where we’ll have incredible encounters with gray whales and their young. Other departures feature swimming and snorkeling with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world.
Every year, gray whales swim more than 12,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico, where they give birth to their young in protected lagoons—it is one of the world’s greatest migrations. Heading out by panga, or skiff, and observing all procedures for interacting with the whales respectfully and “on their terms,” we are often welcomed by mothers and their calves at incredibly close range.
Gray whales may be the greatest migrating whale, but the deepest diving goes to sperm whales. When they hunt for squid, the can plunge to depths of more than 3,000 feet and stay under water for almost two hours!
During our time in the Loreto Marine Reserve, we’ll pass through the infamous “Blue Triangle,” known for frequent sightings of blue whales. We have a chance to see the largest creature on Earth (up to 100 feet long!) swim right by or beneath our vessel.
Each year, humpback whales travel nearly 3,000 miles across the great Southern Ocean to the sheltered waters of Tonga. The whales court, mate, and bear their young off the Ha’apai Islands, and you’ll be right alongside them on our Swimming with the Humpbacks of Ha’apai adventure. We’ve chosen September, the best time of year to experience this wonder. The whales are more relaxed and the calves tend to be curious during this time, rewarding us with phenomenal encounters. As one WT adventurer put it, “The trip was everything we’d hoped for and more. Snorkeling with the whales was spectacular and we enjoyed getting to know the Tonga locals.”
Off the coast of the Dominican Republic lies the Silver Bank Whale Sanctuary, the mating and calving grounds for the entire population of Atlantic humpback whales. Along with Ha’apai in Tonga, this is one of the few places in the world where you can snorkel and swim alongside these whales, and on this great adventure aboard a 124-foot motor yacht you’ll have a full week with the whales, watching fascinating behavior “topside” including thrilling breaches, and daily swimming with the whales—they are so close that you’ll feel their singing reverberate through you. Evening lectures with our marine biologist Trip Leader bring great insight into whale behavior and the recovery of this remarkable species.
On Alaska’s wild southwest coast lies the famous Inside Passage, an intricate waterway of channels and a haven for whales. Humpback and gray whales spend the summer months here, feasting on the abundant food supply. Pods of orcas patrol these waters as well, and we’ll be on the lookout for both in our explorations of the islands and bays of this mystical realm. On our Alaska journeys, you’ll have a comfortable home aboard a private expedition vessel outfitted with sea kayaks, paddle boards, and even a hydrophone. We’ll be able to eavesdrop on their underwater conversations!