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Whale watching


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Too close! Whale watching vessels are required to stay at least 200m away for 'orca' killer whales in British Columbia, and 400m from a resident pod with diminishing members. Ships have to be 400m away.


2 ( +6 / -4 )

What a sight this must be.

I'll have to go on one on those tour someday.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Run away whales!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Kokuzi - I was thinking the same.

Orcas often give birth in the colder months (but not exclusively) and begin moving with their calves as the weather warms up. This is the critical time for calf survival.

As Kokuzi said - there is a general practice of not approaching pods of Orcas closer than about 200m.

I remember reading an article a while ago about whale watching (can't recall - National Geographic???) which stated that dissolved pollutants esp from boats exhausts can have a genetic impact on all whales, as well as the boats disturbing the pods natural being, particularly if the watching consistently occurs over a longer period - ie months.

Not sure about laws here. Maybe someone who is clued up on this could expand.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's much more difficult to 'watch' a whale from 200m away. It rather defeats the purpose of the exercise.

It does look like a wonderful activity to do when you're in Hokkaido, however.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Kozuki browny1

I checked some rules on whale watching in Japan :

A boat must go slowly when at a distance of less than 300m from the animals.

The boat must be stopped when the animals are at a distance of less than 100m, until they get away.

The boat on the picture is certainly not moving.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bintaro - thanks for that.

Similar to the rules I understood in some other countries.

One key point however is, "anchoring " is not allowed in many situations. If you have space ie 100m the first choice is to move slowly away out of their directed pathway or run parallel at a distance.

Of course sometime whales choose to encounter boats which means calmness and no movement on behalf of the boat and as soon as it is possible - then slowly move away.

In the case of pods with calves the minimum distance is usually 300 metres and no encroachment is allowed in this zone.

In the photo, if the Orcas had suddenly appeared near the boat then that would be ok, but if the boat had been previously manouvered into position, then that would contradict rules in many cases as it surely looks like there is a calf there.

But maybe the calf rules are different here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A camera caught this awesome video of a humpback whale jumping through the water, narrowly missing an unsuspectiing small fishing boat:


0 ( +0 / -0 )

in British Columbia

They aren't in British Columbia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good point Dom Palmer. The boat is stopped, within Japanese regulations and the whales are free to move away.

Beautiful creatures.

I did this trip about six years ago. The orcas were quite far away and we couldn't get any closer because it would be entering Russian territory.

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Taiji is busy murdering their whales...now suffocating them (how? holding their heads below the water with special pikes made in Taiji or China or other sea world prison aquariums?). Sorry, just distraught over Taiji. THIS is what Taiji should be doing...tours, not death. Someone please vote out the current Wakayama governor who authorizes the Taiji dolfin deaths. Whale watching is profitable and good for the soul, like the photo above.

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