The Whale Watcher

The Whale Watcher

The Whale Watcher

Seeing an herd of striped dolphins or a fin whale closely, as well as a puffin or a northern gannet, is certainly a fascinating and emotional experience, which can make possible for even the most distracted person to switch from an attitude of "indifference" to a great awareness of the importance of protecting the habitat in which these animals live, feed and reproduce.

It is always good to remember that we are "hosted" in their territory and therefore, when you are near the cetaceans of the Pelagos Sanctuary or pelagic birds, it is necessary to behave in such a way as not to cause even the slightest disturbance with our presence.

In order to experience an encounter with a cetacean not in captivity it is, first of all, necessary to navigate sometimes even several hours, so it is advisable to start the excursion prepared, both mentally and materially (for more details visit the suggested equipment section). It is important to emphasize that whalewatching and birdwatching excursions are cancelled in the event of adverse weather and sea conditions, not only to meet the needs of those who are not used to navigate, but also because the weather conditions heavily affect the probability of sighting. In fact, ideal conditions are calm sea and no wind. The sighting, although very frequent (statistically occurs in 95% of the trips), can never be guaranteed, since they are free animals.

Even to those who, like us, have been organizing these trips for over twenty years, at certain times the sea may seem deserted, but there are cetaceans and pelagic birds in the Ligurian Sea... and also in large numbers! The best way to spot them is therefore to persevere patiently. Fin whales, sperm whales, striped dolphins, Cuvier’s beaked whales, like all other cetaceans, spend their lives mainly under water: their presence on the surface is due to their need to breathe. What signals their presence to our Whale Watchers are mainly spouts, backs, fins and "splashs".

To ensure the best chance of an encounter, the presence of excellent observers on board is required: in fact, a little experience is needed to get the eyes used to perceiving the slightest movement. We must also learn not to fix our gaze towards a single direction, but sweep the surface of the sea to cover the area of ​​competence, both in the proximity of the motor ship and on the horizon. The members of our crew and scientific staff have been involved in whalewatching and birdwatching for many years and carry out their work not only with competence but also with great passion, to give passengers unforgettable memories. The active contribution of all the people on board is always an excellent help: you could be the first to spot a specimen!

Each species has a peculiar behavior when it approaches a boat, it is therefore necessary, before approaching an herd, to understand exactly which species you are facing, in order to adapt the maneuvers of the vessel to the needs of the animal. This is the reason why each excursion is different from the other and why the captain always "draws" new routes.

Finally, it is necessary to remember that not only the behavior of the crew is important (for more details visit the rules of behavior section), but also, and above all, that of the participants in the excursion: the two golden rules of the naturalist observer of mammals and seabirds are to cause the least possible disturbance to animals and to arm themselves with patience to be able to recognize the signs of sighting.