What is whale watching?

It is a practice of viewing whales and other cetaceans in their natural territory. While this activity is also performed for scientific research, whale watching is most commonly practiced for recreation purposes.

Whales are regarded, and have proved to be, the beasts of underwater. They are popularly known as the largest sea creatures on earth. Some of the most fascinating facts about whales include: Whales are mammals; hence, they are warm-blooded. They are cetaceans; thus they lead a purely aquatic life. They are fast swimmers even for their large size. Whales breathe air through their blowhole. Interestingly, their brains sleep one half at a time. I so hope that humans have the same brain functionality. They do not sleep for long. Lastly, they have hair.

Beluga whale

Among the most popular whale migrants of the Gold Coast are the beluga whales. They are found solely in the Northern Hemisphere in areas of Canada, Russia, Greenland and Alaska. The beluga whale is a small, toothed whale; it has 34 teeth which aid the beluga not in chewing but in grabbing its prey. Its genus, Delphinapterus, means “whale without fins” while leucas, its species, means “white”. In Russia, Beluga means “white one”. The beluga whale’s white skin serves as a camouflage to avoid detection by its predators. Once its skin blends with the ice caps during winter, the beluga whale can already roam fear-free of being hunted down. Other popular names for the beluga whale are: white whale, white porpoise, sea canary (because of its high-pitched twitter), and squid hound (due to its diet). A unique and somewhat strange physical characteristic of this particular whale is its seven-neck vertebrae are not joined togetherthus giving it a supple and distinct neck.On average, beluga whales grow up to about 15 feet (4.6 meters) long, and they weigh up to about 3,300 pounds (1,500 kilograms). Perhaps due to its size, belugas are quite commonly kept in captivity in aquariums and wildlife parks throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Belugas are gregarious marine mammals and assemble in pods (social groups) of about 30 whales. The average pod size consistsof 10 whales comprising of males and females or mothers and calves. As mentioned earlier, belugas are also called “sea canaries” because of their songs and babbling, which can be heard above the water. They use echolocation to locate their prey underwater, to search for breathing holes in the Arctic ice sheet, and to navigate in deep waters. Aside from humans, belugas’ most common predators are killer whales and polar bears.

More and more people incorporate whale watching in their travelitineraries. In Australia, the most popular whale watching destination is the Gold Coast. Whales migrate to Australia starting late May through November. Therefore, the whale watching season in Australia is between June and November. Aside from whale watching, vacationers can also enjoy other fun activities in this beautiful island such as swimming, surfing, shopping, dining, bar-hopping, among others. By the way, to make your Australian Whale Watching experience a truly memorable and enjoyable adventure, make sure to bring a digital camera, video camera or camera phone to take photos of whales and your interaction with them.