August 9 2010 by Bridget Daly
I've been whale watching several times and while I've seen whales on all occasions, I've never experienced what some would consider a "close encounter" or even an extraordinary sighting. I've certainly never experienced anything like this that happened recently off the coast of South Africa! (ABC News: Kaboom! Whale Crash-Lands on Boat)
My whale sightings have consisted of a smallish tail coming up out of the water, or a whale's back popping up next to our boat or a whale jumping out of the water several yards away from the boat. But that's absolutely fine with me. While my experiences haven't been prominent, every experience has been 100% worth the money, trip and effort it takes to deal with strangers getting seasick in front of me. I recommend whale watching to everyone I know. "Just do it," I say. "It's worth it, trust me."
I've been whale watching in Alaska (obviously the best) where I saw Gray Whales and Orca and Southern and Northern California where we've seen Sperm Whales and a variety of smaller whale species.
If you're looking to experience a certain type of whale sighting, I'd recommend not going with any expectations. In fact, on one particular excursion in Alaska, the highlight of the trip was a sea otter sighting! The little guy paddled right up to our boat and stared at us while cracking a shell (his dinner) on his tummy! It was the best part of the trip. So, don't get too caught up on seeing a certain whale, just go expecting to experience sea life, period.
Of course, it's nice to get a general understanding of what types of whales will be out and about and when and in what part of the country/world. WhaleWatching.com has great information including information about whales and where they appear at any given time, where to locate tour operators and how to book your whale watching excursion online.
Where have you been for the best whale watching?