Last Updated: June 1, 2016
Whale Watching in Bermuda
About whale watching in Bermuda
You get the best opportunity of watching whales in Bermuda during the Spring time between March and April. This is when the humpback whales migrate from the Caribbean water zone to the north Atlantic feeding zone. The whales usually have a regular pattern of behavior and a migration route. During the winter, the humpback whales of the Atlantic prefer the Caribbean tropical zone for mating.
And during the spring, they migrate towards the north Atlantic zone for feeding. About 15,000 Humpback whales migrate every year. They travel for about 16,000 miles during this time. This is considered as one of the longest migrations in the world by mammals.
An adult humpback whale can be from 40 - 50 foot long. Sometimes they can be even longer. On an average, they would weigh about 40 - 50 tons. Being mammals, they need space to find food, to rest and even socialize just like the way we do. Average whale calves are born about 12-15 foot long, need 120 gallons of milk a day and weigh about 3,000 pounds.
So, where and how do you get to see these huge majestic creatures? The best is to take an organized whale watching boat tour. There are several operators in Bermuda who take you to the south shore waters in Bermuda for several hours showing you the whales either from the deck or even through the glass bottom views.
During March to April, the water visibility is high and you can clearly see whales through the glass bottom up to 100 feet below the surface. If you can't make it to a boat tour, you can also see them from the shore. Just hold on for a while and I shall soon discuss all the best options.
Humpback whales have long white flippers. You can sometimes see them swimming upside down with their flippers in the air.
There are distinct black & white markings on the underside of their tail flukes. These marks can be used by experts to identify individual whales.
Look for how they slap their huge tails on the water surface.
On their slightly flattened heads, you will see bumps.
Unlike other species, humpback whales are very acrobatic. If you are lucky, you will see them breaching, i.e. throwing their entire body out of water.
As they come out of water surface, they often blow a stream of spray that can rise up to 12 feet above the water. After blowing for 3 to 4 times, a humpback usually dives back into the water and remains underwater for about 15 minutes.
Whale Watching Boat Tours
There are several boat operators in Bermuda that offer whale watching trips and mostly along the south shore. Over the years, whale watching in Bermuda is catching up and becoming increasingly popular to both tourists and residents. Although whales can be sighted as early as last week of December, the best season is between March to April when the migration takes place.
The whales are usually seen at Sally Tucker and Challenger sea mounts which are some 2 to 15 miles offshore. From the boats, you can sometimes see them as close as about 10 feet away. During the season, you are almost certain to see whales in Bermuda from the boats. The average whale watching boat tour costs about $85-95 per adult but varies with the operator and departure location. You need to carry your lunch pack, water, windbreakers, cameras, drinks etc. Alcohol is not allowed on board the cruise.
Here are the best whale watching tours in Bermuda:
Island Tour Center
: Although this center is relatively new, their parent company Fantasea has been running whale watching trips since 1987. Those days they were the only ones offering such boat tours. Their boats have reinforced glass bottom for underwater viewing. The tour duration is about 5 hours and is captained by Mike Heslop who is a 10 year veteran in this field. The boat leaves from Dockyard (next to the dockyard ferry stop) on some days of the week during March-April.
Blue Water Divers
: They operate from Somerset Bridge Marina which is located at the western side of the island near the dockyard. Between March and April, they usually operate three times a week. The trip lasts for 5 to 7 hours depending on whale activities.
: They offer a 45-foot luxury charter yacht AJ's Wings
in March and April.
Whale Watching From Shores
The best place for whale watching from the shore is West Whale Bay Beach
at Southampton Parish. Take a taxi and come to the Whale Bay Park. There is an open area from the cliffs that gives you a great vantage point to watch the humpback whales beyond the reef line. But you will need a binocular to make the most out of such experience.
Visitors' Reviews & Comments...
Arthur Groten (February 2014)
As near as I can tell, the only time that there is a significant chance to see the whales in March-May. Is that correct or is there an opportunity in July? Thanks
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) February 2014
Hi, March to April is the best time for whale watching. This is when the humpback whales migrate through Bermuda waters. In July the possibility is low.