Newfoundland Whale Watching
Looking to go on a whale watching tour to see some of the largest whales, swim, frolic and feed up close and personal? Well, Newfoundland is the place to do it!
Newfoundland has the largest annually returning numbers of whales that visit our Newfoundland waters every year. These gentle giants of the sea will amaze you and leave you in awe. As I say to be well informed is to be well armed, so here is the information you need to have a spectacular whale tour any time of the season according to our expert, Skipper Bob Bartlett!
When is the best time to see whales in Newfoundland?
Whales migrate north from southern waters like the Dominican Republic. They start to arrive in April and continue arriving throughout the season until the middle of September. Whales do not necessarily stop to feed in one place all summer but move around so like our friend Finnegan the Humpback he arrives early and usually moves out midseason to other areas.
Whale numbers peak with the arrival of the Capelin. Capelin is a small smelt like fish that arrive here by the billions to spawn in the shallows of the Newfoundland coast. This is what attracts the whales to come to Newfoundland. The whales that arrive earlier in the year feed on Krill, small Herring, and even Plankton if it is thick enough. Outside of peak season, there are other species of whales to see like the Minke whale. We also have porpoises, dolphins and even Orcas can arrive in the latter part of the season.
What type of whales can I expect to see?
During the peak season, our most popular whales are Minke Whales, Sperm Whales, Fin or Finback Whales and the majestic Humpback Whale the Showman of the Ocean as I call them.
My favourite and most popular whale are the majestic Humpbacks. The image above is a humpback whale, named Finnegan. The tail fluke print of a Humpback Whale as pictured above is as unique to that whale as a fingerprint is to a human being. Humpbacks range in the 45-50-foot range. They eat up to 2 tons of Capelin per day during the feeding season. More amazing Humpback facts are revealed on our tour as well as displays of breaching, tail lobbing and other amazing whale feats!
The Sperm Whale (same type as Moby Dick) is the only variety of toothed whale that feeds in Newfoundland. (Killer Whales or Orcas are actually toothed but technically not whales but Dolphins). In the 45-55-foot range, Sperm Whales dive deep for long periods of time to feed on the deeper dwelling creatures like Giant Squid and other denizens of the deep. You can tell the Sperm Whale at a distance by the spout from its head coming off at about a 30-degree angle. It is very distinct.
The Minke Whale is the smallest of the whale family in the 22 – 25-foot range similar in body shape to the Blue and Fin Whales but much smaller. These whales are black or dark blue on their upper side with a light white colour on their belly and under their flippers. Just like Humpback whales, they feed on small fish such as herring or capelin. Blue whales and even Narwhales have been spotted in Trinity Bay though it is not a common occurrence.
Fin or Finback Whales
Fin or Finback whales ( named for the appearance of their fin so far back on their bodies) are the second largest of the whale family next to the largest whale species the Blue Whale. The Fin Whales can reach up to 80 feet in length, however, the average in the northern hemisphere tends to be in the 62-66-foot range and in the southern hemisphere 66 – 72-foot range. The Fin Whale’s spout is high and straight and distinguishable from quite some distance as opposed to the Humpback whose spout is closer to the water and mushrooms as it completes its breath. I can usually tell the type of whale long before we reach them. Here is a video of the Fin Whale taken by us last season passing the boat.
We get three variety of Dolphins in Newfoundland, the Atlantic White Sided Dolphin, Common Dolphin, and the White Beaked. They are very strong swimmers often frolicking in the wake or the bow wave created by our boats. Dolphins can get up to ten feet in length with large curved dorsal fins which distinguishes them from other species. They are mostly dark grey with a light white on their sides. They can weigh up to 775 pounds often traveling in large groups of 10-20 dolphins but can get as large as 100 individuals.
Will we only see whales? Is there other wildlife we can see?
As Forest Gump said, “Life is a like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Much like the variety of species you can see on our tours. From the middle of June until the latter part of August you are almost certainly guaranteed to see Humpbacks, Fin Whales and a variety of seabirds including Puffins, Eagles, Guillemots, Razorbills, Northern Gannets and many more. It amazes me what we see and have seen from Ocean Sunfish to Leatherback Turtles.
How often do you see whales on tours? Is there a better time of day to see them?
One time of day seems no better than another for spotting whales. The cycle for whales here in Newfoundland is all about feeding so whales gorge themselves to build up their fat reserves of which they may lose up to 50% from one season to the next. During the last two seasons, we have seen whales almost every trip. Our percentages for the last two years have been better than 98%.
Why should I book with Trinity Eco Tours?
If you want the most action-packed, fun-filled, most informative and most relaxing tour you should book with us. We provide you with an immersion suit for warmth during the colder part of the season, (something you do not get on the big tour boats during their whale watching tour). Our photos and videos have been featured worldwide for their amazing content which has all been taken on our tour. See videos from us on YouTube and Facebook.
We are an established company located in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, a hotspot of whale activity in season! Skipper Bob, your tour guide has been a diver for over 30 years spending much time filming above and below the water. He has filmed whales here in Newfoundland as well as the Dominican Republic in the offseason. Our groups are small and personable with the ability to ask your skipper individual questions. You are a small contingent of fewer than 12 passengers onboard. You have more social interaction with your guide and other guests. Our Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (Zodiacs) are the most stable whale viewing platforms with the ability to be up close and personal to the action.
Trinity Bay Newfoundland is a very popular tourist destination and if not on your list you should add it. We have been welcoming visitors for over 400 years! Trinity has many local museums, historic sites, theater, fine dining, hiking trails, popular local microbrewery amongst many other attractions. If you miss us, you missed out! Plus, the variety of wildlife in season is unparalleled as well as the spectacular seascapes and sea caves. Experience wildlife, icebergs, and culture with the locals and you might not want to go back.
What type of boat will be used on my whale watching tour?
On our Whale Watching Tours, we use Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB). Our Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats are the same type of boats used for rescue craft in the offshore industries. They are the most stable, comfortable vessel for work vessels and our tours. Our boats and our skippers are Transport Canada certified, so we are well equipped to handle your comfort and your care. An additional selling feature of our tours is that you are less susceptible to seasickness as the vessel does not slow roll out like a large boat. Being seasick during your tour is not conducive to a good trip. We usually have Gravol available prior to our tours if you think you may need it. Very few people have ever been seasick aboard our tours.
What Should I Wear on A Whale Watching Tour?
As mentioned, we provide you with a one-piece full immersion suit that is nylon covered Neoprene suit. This protects against the wet and the cold in the shoulder seasons. It has been commented by many a passenger that it saved the trip for our patrons for their warmth and comfort. As I so often like to say it is better to have and not need as opposed to needing and not have so good footwear is a must, adequate thermal socks in season and of course gloves and mitts. Even during the peak of the summer temperatures can drop by 10 Degrees Celsius when we get out into the middle of the bay!
How do I book a whale watching tour with Trinity Eco-Tours?
There are several different ways you can book your tour with Trinity Eco-Tours. You can book online through either of the links on our Facebook Page or visit our website directly at TrinityEcoTours.com. If you don’t want to book online, you can call us directly at (709) 464-3712 or our accommodations in Trinity (709) 436-3011. Skipper Bob would be glad to help.