Whale Watching - July to October
Whale watching is included within our cruises during the humpback whale migratory season from July to October.
We work closely with Nan Hauser, our fantastic Rarotongan based whale research scientist, to ensure our guests have the best chance of seeing humpback whales, as they visit the island during their migratory season. The length of our cruises also allows a greater possibilty of a sighting.
You will be given a full introduction to our 'Cook Island' whales and some fascinating facts on their habits and activities while in this island group, by our experienced crew.
- Which whales are more likely to sing?
- How do we know where they are likely to appear again and why?
- Does a whale ever really fall asleep?
- How long can a humpback stay underwater for?
- What is the whales full migratory route through the Pacific?
- How deep do they dive?
- How can we identify individual whales?
In addition to many answers, we will also give tips on how best to spot the whales - and off we will go, taking full account of our speed and position to ensure that the whales are not approached too closely! This is particularly important as humpback whales use Rarotonga as their breeding and birthing grounds.
We have had many many exciting encounters over the years - and have been approached by whale calves and their mothers who are unafraid of our quiet sailing vessel. In addition we often get a few 'show offs' - usually yearlings, who are keen to breech and tail slap the water nearby. Our favourite last year was 'Speedy', who zoomed off as quickly and excitingly as he arrived - in a big splash and often with an inquisitive beady eyed pass by the boat!
We would like to remind our guests however, that whales are wild creatures with a vast expanse of ocean to swim in. As such we cannot guarantee a sighting - although it does make it so much more exciting when this does happen! We use the VHF to track sightings and will head towards appropriate areas in our cruising ground to try and gain sight of these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.
If you are keen to learn more, we highly recommend a visit to the Whale Centre behind Avarua, which has a fascinating set of artefacts and information about whales from days of whaling to the present. They also have live coconut crabs - wonderful prehistoric looking land crabs which are rarely seen as they have been found to be so tasty by Pacific Islanders over the years and are unfortunately near extinction.