Canada: Newfoundland & Labrador | View Map
Every year, 22 species of whales and dolphins come to Newfoundland and Labrador for peace, quiet, and the odd photo opportunity. Whales can be seen from a grassy knoll on a fine day, from the veranda of a B&B or from a boat where you can view them up close in all their glory. Whatever you choose, you won't be disappointed. This is truly the best place in North America to appreciate whales.
You can see Beluga, Narwhal, Sperm Whale, Pygmy Sperm Whale, Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Sei Whale, Minke Whale, Humpback Whale, Bowhead Whale, Right Whale, Killer Whale, Northern Bottle-Nosed Whale, Sowerby's Beaked Whale, Blainville's Beaked Whale, True's Beaked Whale. But the most common are the Humpback, Minke and Fin, with Beluga and Killer the next most seen. Some are very rare, such as Sowerby's beaked Whale.
There's a very good reason why whales come here: food. The Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current meet and mix over the Grand Banks, a huge continental shelf off Newfoundland that was discovered in the late 15th century when an early explorer, John Cabot, scooped up cod fish in a basket. The food also attracts millions of seabirds, and the Labrador Current carries icebergs south into Newfoundland waters in late spring and early summer. Sometimes you can see whales, bergs and birds simultaneously. The humpbacks begin to arrive in late spring when fish begin moving toward the coast, following the caplin, a small fish that comes to shore in the billions to lay eggs in shallow waters. Typically, both caplin and whales are first spotted in southeastern Newfoundland in June in places like Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve.
As the season progresses the caplin move further north into warming waters up the northeast coast of Newfoundland, followed by the whales that stop to feed at Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a major seabird breeding area, then Trinity Bay, Notre Dame Bay in the Twillingate area, and finally, in August and September, they are seen off northern Newfoundland around St. Anthony. And the further north you go, the better the chances are of seeing whales and icebergs at the same time. There are a variety of places to see whales, mainly from boats or kayaks, but also from land.
For more information go to www.newfoundlandlabrador.com whales and check out our YouTube channel for some great whale videos.