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Whale Watching in Cape Breton

contributor, Susan Jenkins

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Whale Watching in Cape Breton

Cape Breton is blessed with a wide array of incredible wildlife, including a huge host of birds such as Bald Eagles, Black Guillemots, Northern Gannets. You'll also be afforded the opportunity to see Canada's famous Moose and Black Bears. The creatures that most excite the visitors to our shores, however, reside in the sea that surrounds us. If you turn your eyes towards the sea then you will see Pilot, Finback, Minke and most famously of all, Humpback whales in the water surrounding Cape Breton. Whale Watching is an incredibly popular tourist attraction for visitors to the area, and its easy to see why this once in a lifetime opportunity draws such a crowd.

Friendly Humpback Whales

Humpback whales can grow to be anything from 14.6 to 19 meters long but despite their size they are not aggressive animals. They feed on the small fish, krill and plankton that are found near the coastline, and show considerable affection to their young. Mothers and their children swim very close together and occasionally touch each other with their flippers to show affection and seek reassurance.

Much like humans, mothers nurse their calves for up to twelve months and it takes up to ten years for a humpback whale to reach maturity. Excitingly, humpback whales regularly leap from the water; a massive spectacle that causes an incredible splash when the whale returns back to the water. Humpback whales are most well known for their beautiful songs which echo through the oceans. Scientists still don't know what these songs means, but it is thought that the incredibly complex series of moans and cries are a form of communication.

The Ideal Destination

Bay St. Lawrence Cape Breton is the ideal starting point for a boat trip to see these magnificent creatures up close; in fact, you can often see them in the surf from the shoreline which is a wonderful activity and game to play if you're travelling with children. You can choose to either organize a day trip on small local boat to spend a couple of hours hunting for whales and taking incredible pictures, or you can join a larger family friendly cruise liner where you will have the same kind of experience but also be afforded the opportunity to see some of the other wonderful attractions that northern Canada has to offer.

It's important to consider the kind of experience you want to have, as this will help guide your choice of craft. Whichever option you choose, you're guaranteed to spot whales, provided that you're travelling during whale season. The whales arrive to the region in spring and stay until late fall. However the humpbacks don't arrive in the area until the beginning of June; by mid-June there is an abundance of humpbacks to see and enjoy and just like the other whales, these creatures stay until fall.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Just last week (23rd July 2014) the Cape Breton Post revealed that a great white shark has been spotted off our shores. Dr. Steve Turnbull of University of New Brunswick viewed several photos taken by eagled eyed tourists on board the Quoddy Link Marine boat and confirmed the sighting was authentic. This serves as a timely reminder that the vast oceans surrounding the region are home to so much more than whales. When you take a whale watching tour from Cape Breton you will see curious dolphins leaping from the water and porpoises travelling in small communal pods. You will also be able to spot Leatherback and Loggerhead Sea Turtles dining on jellyfish.

Witnessing whales, dolphins and other creatures of the sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you will never forget. These magnificent creatures are awe inspiring and will give you a whole new perspective on life.

Why not choose Cape Breton for your next vacation and find out for yourself? With so much to see and do, you certainly won't be disappointed.