About whale watching
Whale watching tours offer the perfect opportunity to observe these giants in their natural habitat. As long as they follow proper regulations, these tours can be used as a public awareness tool to spread educational and conservation messages on the protection of these aquatic mammals.
There is an increasing interest in observing these aquatic marine mammals, particularly at the Banderas Bay. This area located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, within the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit is a great place for watching them.
Every year, humpbacks journey from the cold waters of the north to the warm waters of Banderas Bay to propagate. The whale watching season in this region generally begins during the first week of December to take advantage of the early influx of giant visitors but sometimes there are sightings as early as mid-November. They remain in these waters until March of the following year when their young are strong enough to begin their first north trip.
This kind of tour gives people the privilege to get near these incredible creatures of the deep and observe their natural and uninhibited behavior. These marine creatures love putting on a nature show for their onlookers by jumping and slapping the water with their fins and tail. This acrobatic feat can reach an astounding 45 to 50 feet and sometimes, they breach just close enough for you to get wet. They are also known for their vocalizations which are produced by males during mating season. These giants can sing for hours on end and be heard up to 100 miles which some think is a way of serenading females to win them over.
This nature activity can be enjoyed by the whole family or group of friends looking for a fun way to spend their holiday in Mexico. Taking your kids along with you in this kind of excursion is a great way to teach them to love and respect the ocean and the creatures that inhabit the waters. This life lesson is something that they can carry with them until they grow old and pass to the next generation.
Get to know the mighty humpbacks
The humpbacks are a species of baleen found in oceans around the world. They are named after their distinctive hump on their backs and have long pectoral fins called Megaptera (“big-winged”) and a fluked tail which rises above the surface when they dive. A fully mature individual can weigh up to 40 tons and measure as long as 60 feet. Although they can live from 45 to 90 years, certain threats can shorten their lifespans like entanglement in fishing gear, habitat degradation, pollution, and potential toxic spills. They are also vulnerable to boat strikes and other boat-based forms of harassment.
Before a ban on commercial whaling in 1986, all populations of humpbacks experienced a significant decline. Some populations were hit so bad that they were reduced by more than 95 percent. In fact, the United States categorized all the humpbacks as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1970 and 1973. The International Commercial Whaling (IWC) moratorium and worldwide conservation efforts have given this species a chance to gradually recover and increase in number. In fact, populations have grown to nearly 54,000 worldwide which is over 45 percent of their initial numbers. However, some nations like Iceland and Norway expressed their objections to the moratorium. Japan and Iceland still continue to hunt these magnificent animals behind the context of “scientific whaling”.
These majestic ocean dwellers are also under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which prohibits the trade of humpbacks, parts, and derivatives.
Every year, these giant swimmers travel long distances to go to feeding areas to feast on krill and small fish. Some pods journey 5,000 miles on average to reach tropical or subtropical waters, like the bay of Banderas,to breed. Males reach sexual maturity at age seven while females around five years old and gives birth to a calf every two to three years with a gestation period of around 12 months.
Other interesting species
Aside from humpbacks, you also have the chance to see other fascinating species such as blue whales, sperm whales, gray whales, orca, and dolphins.
Blue whales are considered as the largest animals in the planet weighing up to 200 tons and measuring between 82 to 105 feet. Did you know that its tongue alone can weigh as much as an elephant while its heart can be as heavy as an automobile? It’s amazing how they can grow to such massive sizes when the feed almost exclusively on krill.
Sperm whales have the largest brains among the creatures that roam the Earth. No wonder they are known for their enormous heads and prominently rounded foreheads. They generally weigh between 35 to 45 tons and measure anywhere from 49 to 59 feet.
Orca or killer whales are one of the fiercest aquatic predators because they hunt in pods. They love feeding on seals, sea lions, and even whales.
Come and try it yourself!
Nautical Obsession offers outstanding whale watching tours in Puerto Vallarta that comply with Mexican regulations. You can choose from four, six and eight hours trip duration with morning and early afternoon time slots. Book with us now to embark on this amazing experience.