Whale watching in Newfoundland

Humpbacks breach. Finbacks feed. Minkes dart in pods. A rare Orca shows its white patches. Whales gasp and blow misty spouts as your boat slices across the waves towards a distant fluke, sea spray on your face. Every spring after a parade of icebergs drifts south along Canada’s East Coast, a roll call of whales arrives. During July and August Newfoundland becomes “Cetacean Central” as North America’s largest whale populations come to feed, offering some of the country’s best opportunities to watch and interact with them.

Scan the horizon for whales while watching the antics of Technicolor-beaked puffins from the decks of family-owned Gatherall’s Puffin and Whale Watch south of St. John’s in Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. For a more exclusive whale odyssey on board their intimate boat, sign up for a “Picnic With the Whales” excursion hosted by your own private senior naturalist. Head to sea with a group of friends and family for a day of whale watching with a stop en route in a quiet, scenic cove to relax over a fresh seafood lunch accompanied by wine or a local microbrew.

Go whale watching from a kayak and immerse yourself in a five-day “Legendary Whale Wonders” excursion off the rocky shores of Cape Broyle with multi-generational outfitters Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures. Paddle in the peak season of July in search of whales and sea caves. Hike the craggy shoreline to spot whales from up high on the East Coast Trail, camping out for a night in a tent-with-a-view. Learn about the lively local culture. Not so energetic? Try their new half-day “Go & Tow Adventures” offering paddlers the opportunity to max out their time on the water by riding back to shore via motorboat.

For a breathtakingly close whale encounter, Ocean Quest invites the adventurous the unique chance to slip into a wet suit, jump into a fast boat then slide into the Atlantic alongside the planet’s biggest animals. Feel your heart race, as an approaching eerie bright spot becomes the glowing white underbelly of a 40-tonne Humpback whale. Hovering close, your eyes meet. She stares intelligently, curious. Nimbly rolling and circling, she slaps her long flipper on the surface producing a sound that reverberates in your chest reminding you to breathe again. When she dives into the deep, you realize the encounter has changed your life forever.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Wim Stolwerk

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.