The waters of Newfoundland are home to and or visited by upwards of 22 different species of whales. The most common whales in our area include humpbacks, fin, minke, orca and white sided dolphins.
Each summer upwards of 10,000+ Humpback Whales make their way to the coast of Newfoundland to feed. One of their best feeding grounds are located in the waters surrounding 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 season runs from mid-June through to mid-August each year which 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 several other species are commonly seen, the Humpback is regarded as 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 and inquisitive.
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. 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.
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!
For those of you who want to be “guaranteed” to see a whale – go to a Marine Theme Park where they’re caged in – you’ll be guaranteed to see a whale but it’s really not the same.