Whale experiences to celebrate World Whale Day
Giants of the ocean are celebrated on World Whale Day, which aims to raise awareness of these magnificent creatures, their beauty as well as their ecological value to the planet.
This year, the annual celebration falls on 20 February. World Whale Day originated in Maui, Hawaii in 1980 to honour humpback whales, which swim off of the coast of this tropical island. This day was started as an idea by Greg Kauffman, founder of the Pacific Whale Foundation, to raise awareness about the threat of extinction faced by humpback whales.
These days, World Whale Day isn’t just about those humpbacks who are in Hawaii. Whales inhabit all of the earth’s oceans and, sadly, the oceans are not as healthy today as they once were. Putting the spotlight on this and creating awareness and the need to protect these gentle giants is what the day is all about.
In celebration of the day, PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®), the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organisation has revealed 7 locations to go swimming with whales in an ethical way. Imagine, a magical underwater realm where you get to glide next to one of the most incredible mammals of all time, such as the likes of Orcas, Sperm whales, and Humpback whales.
Orcas are highly intelligent and fascinating creatures, with the amazing ability to hunt down great white sharks. These whales travel in groups of approximately 40, meaning if you come across one, you’ll likely get to see plenty more!
Norway: October – February
Tromsø region, located far North of Norway is possibly the ultimate location to witness Orcas in their natural habitat – due to their immense concentration of herring, a plethora of Orcas are gathered to a single geographical location. Orcas stay quite close to the surface, so scuba diving is not as common; but snorkelling and swimming during the Winter months are.
Baja California Sur: All year long
The magnificent waters of Baja California Sur allow many opportunities to swim alongside a variety of marline life, and among those beauties are Orcas. There is an exploratory trip with the incredible PADI Dive Center Dive Ninja Expeditions to discover Orcas off the coastline where they live and hunt.
Sperm whales are by far, the greatest in size among the toothed whales; these whales grow up to 60 feet long and can be distinguished from other whales by their ginormous forehead. Though giant in size, these mystical creatures are gentle and are occasionally fascinated with human interaction. Sperm whales can be quite shy, and they tend to dive super deep in the ocean. So, to swim with them, you will need to keep an eye out for when they are standing upwards because it means that they are asleep.
Dominic Republic: Winter Months
During winter, on the Caribbean Island nation, female Sperm whales and their calves can be seen off the shores, situated midway between Guadeloupe and Martinique islands. To swim with Sperm whales, you will need a permit and remember that only snorkelling is permitted, and it is mandatory to be accompanied by a licensed operator.
Sri Lanka: February – April
Sperm whales can be seen from February to April, off the Northern Coast of Sri Lanka. To swim with these beautiful creatures, tour operators are required to get a permit from the Sri Lankan Government, where most of the organised tours are centred around whale watching.
Humpback whales are renowned for their impressive acrobatic skills and hypnotic whale tunes! They are very powerful swimmers and can grow up to 50-60 feet long! Humpback whales can be seen when they are skyrocketing out of the ocean or puffing loads of bubbles underwater to trick and catch fish.
Tonga: July – October
Throughout July to October, Humpback whales travel to Tonga from North Antarctica so that they can mate and calf. Each year, there are only few boat operators that can get permits to be near them, and these boats are only allowed to board a few people.
Tahiti, French Polynesia: August – October
Humpbacks whales will travel to Tahiti between August to October each year to birth and calf in the tranquil and cosy waters, located off the island. At present, French Polynesia is classified as exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and shark sanctuary, so as to guard the life of its remarkable marine species.
Western Australia: June – November
Every year in June to November, roughly 40,000 Humpback whales relocate on Ningaloo Reef to feed at the poles (coastline of Ningaloo Marine Park). Blossoming with coral reef, Ningaloo is where other amazing marine life can be found, such as turtles, dolphins, and of course, rays.