Tuesday 14 February 2012

Top Five Regions for Whale Spotting

Small Ship Cruise Expert AdventureSmith Explorations
Selects Top Five Regions for Whale Spotting

The active travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small, expedition ships, AdventureSmith Explorations, shares five ideas on where best to cruise for whale spotting. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/

"These are my personal favorites where you can get up close and friendly with earth's largest mammals," explains Todd Smith, company founder and director. "But we wouldn't be responsible travelers if we didn't recognize that the goal of all whale watching should be to observe the animals without changing their behavior.  If outside presence in any way influences a whale's activity, you are too close."

Smith called an up close encounter with whales aboard a small ship, zodiac or kayak "one of the most incredible wildlife experiences of a lifetime."   His top five picks for whale watching are

Summertime (mid June to late August) southeast Alaska's Inside Passage:  Migratory Humpback whales from Hawaii and Baja return to the nutrient rich waters of Coastal Alaska to spend the summer feeding.  The combination of long days of sunlight, cold oxygen and nutrient rich water creates a bloom of plankton that is the foundation of a rich food chain whales rely on to exist.  Whales gather in feeding pods of 6 or more animals and their behavior and location becomes more predictable around food sources. One of the most amazing whale behaviors is bubble net feeding where whales work cooperatively to corral small fish in a net of bubbles. The whales then swim through the net with their mouths wide open, crashing to the surface in a cacophony of fish, whales and water. Sometimes Orca or killer whales are spotted along with Minke whales. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/60

Summer (June to August) Arctic: Back from migration come Gray, Blue, Fin, and Minke whales. But some of the most unusual whales in the world, the Bowhead, Beluga and Narwhal, make their home in the Arctic and subarctic year-round. Because of the Arctic's extremely wild nature, it is not uncommon to find whale bones washed ashore or even polar bears feeding on a whale carcass. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/322

Winter (December to February) Antarctica: Rich waters here attract whales from throughout the southern hemisphere. The most commonly seen species are Right, Blue, Sei, Humpback, Minke, Fin, Sperm and Killer whales. In Antarctica plentiful krill (a small shrimplike creature) provide a food source for migratory whales. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/315

Winter (December to April) Hawaii: Many onboard naturalists migrate with whales from Alaska to Hawaii, working aboard small ships in each region. Humpback whales visit Alaska to feed; the remainder of the year they don't feed at all, or very little. Humpbacks visit the warm waters of Hawaii to mate and give birth to their calves. One of the most exciting scenes in Hawaii whale watching is a pod of males swimming, fin slapping, spy hopping and breaching in competition for a female. It is also in Hawaii when these whales sing and their songs can be heard under the water for miles. Listen carefully for whale songs while snorkeling. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/200

Winter (January to April) San Ignacio Lagoon and Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side of California's Baja Peninsula: Here are winter calving grounds of the California Gray Whale. Close encounters are expected as these 40-ton whales (friendlies) seem to have affection for people. It is not uncommon for proud mothers and curious calves to approach zodiacs full of travelers. Also, across the peninsula, the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez are home to Blue, Fin, Pilot, Humpback and Sperm whales. http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/94

About Adventure Smith Explorations
AdventureSmith Explorations is the global leader in small ship, adventure cruise vacations. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore. The company matches guests with the top names in small ship cruising as well with intimate, boutique ships that may not make the radar of most travelers.

In moving through exotic natural environments and exploring vibrant native cultures seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, AdventureSmith Explorations dedicates its efforts to small footprint, sustainable travel and has launched a carbon free cruising initiative. Its off-the-beaten-path destinations include Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Hawaii, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica, and Australia.

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe.  P: 800-728-2875 toll-free or 530-583-1775. E: travel@AdventureSmithExplorations.com / W: www.AdventureSmithExplorations.com.

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