Cruise duration between 1.5 to 2 hours.
Departs Gatherall’s dock in Bay Bulls (25 minutes from St. John’s).
Shuttle service available from St. John’s (additional charges apply).
Largest & most spacious tour boat for your enjoyment.
Live commentary with lots of crew interaction.
Rail space for all guests to provide best views.
Indoor seating for all guests.
Great for all ages.
Canteen & bar service offered.
Daily cruises mid May till late September.
Departs rain / shine.
Warm clothing suggested.
Posts by Michael Gatherall:
Cruise with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch and explore the incredible, rugged, coastal scenery of Newfoundland.
Only minutes from St. John’s, Gatherall’s tours depart from the scenic and historic fishing outport of Bay Bulls. The harbour and adjoining coastal headlands offer fabulous opportunities to photograph steep cliffs, waterfalls, caves and sea stacks. Regardless of the season, it’s always an incredible experience to sit and watch the rugged Newfoundland scenery pass by in front of your eyes as we cruise along this breathtaking coastline.
Gatherall’s friendly and professional crew are always ready to answer your questions and to offer colourful commentary about the sights along the way. Watch for Bald Eagles and coastal birds which nest in the rocky ledges and trees along the way.
Photograph the lighthouse at Bull Head as it has been viewed by mariners for over a hundred years. During the fishing season you’ll have an opportunity to watch local fisherman at their daily work.
Whales in Newfoundland
Each summer upwards of 10,000 Humpbacks make there way to the coast of Newfoundland to feed. Some of the best feeding grounds are situated in the waters of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. The abundance of food (capelin) draws hundreds of whales close to our shores to feed. This is what makes the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve among the best places in the world to watch and experience whales in their natural environment
The peak of the feeding (and sighting) season runs from mid June through to mid August each year which typically ensures that Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch has such a consistent record of sightings. Please remember though that whales are wild creatures in an enormous ocean. They have lots of room to feed, play and occasionally hide. As with most everything else in nature, whales in Newfoundland are more numerous during certain times of the year and in select locations.
The Humpback Whale is the most frequently encountered species of whale observed in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and the waters around Bay Bulls. While a number of other species are commonly seen, the Humpback is typically the star of the show. Widely regarded as the most social and acrobatic of all of the whales, Humpbacks are also among the most curious.
Each and every encounter is different and our crew are just as excited as you to see them – it never gets old! It’s a big ocean and we must remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be located in such a great place to see them. Some trips they come close to the boat and sometimes they don’t – it’s up to the whales to determine the extent of the encounter – something our crew is always mindful of.
Do we Guarantee Whales?
For those of you who want to be “guaranteed” to see a whale, we recommend that you go to a Marine Theme Park! Sure you’ll be guaranteed to see a whale but it’s really not the same.
Whales in the wild have a vast ocean in which to roam, feed, play and hide in. If you see a whale jump while on a tour with Gatherall’s, it’s doing exactly what it wants to do. We’re not going to blow whistles or try to feed it. You’re welcome to wave though! We recommend that you always watch the ocean and not your smart phone …. the whales are not going to buzz, text, tweet, snapchat before they surface. Relax and put your device away for a bit. Watch, listen and smell – that’s how we find them!
Watching whales is generally 90% patience and 10% luck. If you’re in the right place at the right time it greatly increases your chances of seeing them.
When Is The Best Time to Visit?
Nature operates on its own schedule. For everything there is a season.
Sightings of Puffins, Whales & Icebergs vary throughout the year depending on the season. If you are visiting St. John’s or the Avalon region of Newfoundland, Gatherall’s suggests that the times below are usually best for sightings of Puffins, Whales & Icebergs.
The best time to see puffins is from mid-May through to mid-September as this is the normal period when the puffins are breeding followed by the fledging season for the young pufflings. Of course there are always a few stragglers which wait till the last minute to leave which means that there are still a few around during the 3rd week of September.
Timing for the other seabirds – murres, guillemots, petrels, eagles, gannets, fulmars & kittiwakes varies with each species.
While some whales overwinter around the coast of Newfoundland, most of our whale species are migratory. Humpbacks and Minke whales tend to arrive in our region any time after the middle of May and may stay through to the end of September depending on the presence of food.
The peak of the season for sightings is typically throughout the mid-June through to mid-August period but can vary slightly from year to year. Sightings before and after peak season often occur but we consider these sighting to be a bonus. Every season is different. You never know for sure if you don’t go.
Icebergs season in our area (Avalon region) runs from early May through to mid-June. Icebergs sightings can and do vary greatly from year to year. There is no predicting if, when, or where they may appear. When the massive mountains of moving ice do appear in our waters and conditions permit, we will make every effort to get you within a safe distance to take in their awe & natural beauty. Feel free to contact us for updates throughout the season!
Our coastal scenery is beautiful year round and is a treat in and of itself. Jaw dropping sea stacks and high cliff faces. Waterfalls and caves. The sea and the landscape have shaped our culture and our very family for generations.
It’s the Nature of our Business.
The Gatherall Family & Crew want you to have the best time possible. We will do our best to provide you with an opportunity to experience any wildlife present.
Nature operates on it’s own schedule.
Whales in the wild have a vast ocean in which to roam, feed, play and hide in. If you see a whale jump while on a tour with Gatherall’s, it’s doing exactly what it wants to do. Some days the puffins are content to sit on the grassy banks and pose while other days they are very busy feeding. Icebergs are at the mercy of the ocean currents and wind.
We recommend that you always watch the ocean and not your smart phone …. the puffins & whales are not going to buzz, text, tweet, snapchat before they appear. Relax and put your device away for a bit.
Look. Listen. Smell. Feel.
Enjoy your time on the ocean with us and take life as it unfolds!
Iceberg Tours in Newfoundland
There is more to an iceberg than meets the eye. These incredible mountains of ice meander past the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador each season. Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch (only minutes from St. John’s) is one of many places in that provides iceberg tours in Newfoundland. Our season for icebergs, like elsewhere in Newfoundland, can and does vary greatly from year to year. We encourage you to contact us directly by telephone or email or follow us via social media for updates throughout the season.
While beautiful and striking to look at, these massive mountains of ice are intertwined in our rich natural and cultural heritage. Gatherall’s crew is very knowledgable about the many facets of an iceberg and take great delight in sharing their knowledge with our guests. We encourage you to join us to learn more about the life of an iceberg.
Something That’s Really
Located near the end of Iceberg Alley, Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch tours captures many of these incredible sculptures at their most magnificent. The sea, sun and rocky shoals have been carving these massive sculptures for up to four years as they make their way from Greenland to the end of their journey in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream off the southern coast of Newfoundland. Regarding the number of bergs spotted, each season is different, we never know what the year will bring.
The best time in this area is from April through to mid June. Time is fleeting for them at this point so be sure to see them before they fade away.
Cruise with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch and learn about the Atlantic Puffins of Newfoundland.
Atlantic Puffins in Newfoundland live at sea and spend most of their lives in open ocean. Early in May each year, they return by the hundreds of thousands to the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve – the largest breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins in North America! This is their home for the next four months or so. Nesting in the shelter burrows dug into the side of the islands, they are extremely devoted parents spend their days caring for their single chick. A tour with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch (only minutes from St. John’s) offers a great opportunity to observe and learn about these incredible creatures.
Our neighbourhood really has
Puffins are excellent swimmers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet to control direction. They hunt a variety of small fish including capelin and sand lance. Puffins do not come to land outside of the breeding season, but spend their time flying, preening, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather.
A visit to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch is a fabulous opportunity to see theses incredible creatures in person. With upwards of 500,000 pairs of puffins nesting on the islands of the Reserve, there is really no better place to see them. The best time to see puffins with Gatherall’s is from mid May through to mid September with a few thousand stragglers hanging on a little later in September.