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Best Time to See Whales in Newfoundland

Best Time to See Whales in Newfoundland

You’re bobbing along quietly, eyes searching the dark abyss, unsure where to look or if there is anything to see. Suddenly you hear the gasp of someone doing a second take while catching sight of 25 tonnes of whale breaching ending its performance with a wave of its 16’ tail. Whales in Newfoundland are a sight to behold!

When is the best time to see whales in Newfoundland? We hear that question often and we answer quite carefully.  People are inspired by their whales! But they also want to see icebergs and whales or icebergs alone. There is a window for icebergs and a window for whales and sometimes it is possible to do both. I have had a lot of my guests achieve both.

Watching these leviathans, these behemoths gracefully passing by in front of you can be a life-changing experience for many.

Every year thousands of whales come to voraciously feed here in Newfoundland. They are replenishing their spent fat reserves from their eight-month fasting that the whales have lived on in the southern North Atlantic. Females have given birth to a new generation of their species. They must nurse them and get to the northern feeding grounds before they can enjoy the bounty of the cold North Atlantic of Newfoundland, Capelin. 

The world’s largest population of humpback whales calls our bays, inlets, and coves home while they feed on capelin, krill, and squid. On the water or from the shore, you can observe them feed and display exuberant, happy behaviour. These acts hold us in awe, gobsmacked and grateful to be part of the enigma unfolding before us.

One of your best chances of having your magical experience will be by finding out the best time to see whales in Newfoundland.

Woman looking at a breaching whale

When can you see whales in Newfoundland?

You can see whales in Newfoundland between the months of May and October. Typically the warmer summer months of July and August are the most active for whale sightings. Nature always operates on its own schedule, however, so the season can vary year to year.

If you visit in June or July you may also be lucky enough to spot both whales and icebergs on your zodiac tour!

Whales, such as humpbacks, will travel south for the winter, spending their days in warm waters living off their fat reserves. This is also when they typically give birth before migrating up to 25,000(check this I think it is closer to 12,000, 6600 miles) kilometers in the spring, with their young, to once again fill their bellies.

What kind of whales are in Newfoundland?

We have one of the most extensive lists of whales around! Newfoundland mainly sees humpback whales but another 21 species of whales and dolphins visit every summer including minke, sperm, pothead, blue, and orca. It’s an embarrassment of riches. Our province is truly one of the best places in the world to catch the marine spectacular that is whale watching.

A whale jumping

What factors can affect seeing whales?

Weather

The weather has a significant effect on whale behaviour and your chances of spotting them. Whales are sea mammals and as such need to come to the surface of the water for oxygen no matter the weather. Ideally, you want calm waters, clear skies, no fog, and sun that is not blinding to increase the likelihood of seeing them.

Tide

Whales, like much sea life, take advantage of the currents in the waters they inhabit to ease their travel meaning the direction of the tides can affect the location of the whales. But don’t worry, we keep track of this for you in order to guide you in our zodiac to the best locations off of Trinity for whale sightings on every tour.

Capelin

You’ll want to keep an eye on the capelin activity leading up to your visit since whales sightings increase when there are more of the shiny little fish near our shores. When capelin spawn the shore, whales gather around like it’s an all you can eat buffet. It’s awesome to witness.

Is there a best time of day to see whales?

There really is no “best” time of day to go whale watching. Whales are out and about all day and night, so morning, afternoon, evening—you’ll always have a great chance of spotting a whale on any of our daily tours.

If you are looking to book your spot or group for an upcoming whale watching adventure, be sure to check out our online booking feature which makes booking easy!

If you want up to date information on our whale sightings in 2020, be sure to follow us on Facebook.

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