Watching beluga whales

By | Category: Travel destinations
HEAD OF A BELUGA WHALE

A beluga whale looking as though it is enjoying itseld. Visitors will too!

The visit by Prince William and his family to Canada has generated lots of media space since it was the first time the two children have been on show on a royal visit. Online and high street travel agencies have recorded an increase in people enquiring about Canadian holidays so the Canadian tourist authorities must be delighted.

But the family obviously couldn’t visit all of Canada so what about the parts not visited? It hasn’t stopped them reminding travel writers that there are other sights to see and one of them is the beluga whale population of the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The western Hudson Bay population of beluga whales is estimated at 57,000 and many of these enter the Churchill and Seal River estuaries during July and August for feeding and breeding making, so it is claimed, Manitoba the best beluga whale watching spot in the world! You have lots of time now to plan a holiday in Manitoba because, if you are going that far, you will want to plan to visit other sights in central Canada.

Visitors can see the whales in a number of ways. River pilots can take you out to within a few feet of a friendly pod. You can snorkel with them or take a kayak trip. For those of a braver disposition, paddle boarding is another way that you can view them.

Belugas (meaning “the white one” in Russian) are born grey and they start losing their colour from the age of six. Their white skin is then used to camouflage among the ice of the Arctic to hide from their predators: the polar bear and the killer whale.

The bump on its head, also known as a melon, changes its shape depending on the sound it produces. From whistles and chirps, to cackles and squawks, a beluga produces eleven different sounds, earning it the nickname ‘sea canary.’ Most boat trips will have hydrophone equipment so you should be able to listen to the singing and conversations of the pods.

The first time I came across a beluga I was surprised at how very white they were and then how playful they became almost as though they wanted to join in with our activities.

Lots of tour operators offer tours to see belugas both here in the UK and Ireland and even more in Canada. For anyone who has bee dolphin watching, imagine the same sort of fun and amusement but n a grander scale and you get the idea!

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