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Spend a week with humpback whales and get to know these curious ‘aquabatic’ giants of the ocean.

You can either help with whale research or simply enjoy being in the company of these majestic animals in their northern feeding grounds. 20 species of whale have been sighted in Newfoundland waters, so you can expect the occasional surprise. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy this holiday – just a nature enthusiast who enjoys the company of whales.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK / arrive St. John's, 7-nights

    Depart the UK for St John’s, arriving the same day. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, which is conveniently situated in the downtown area. Depending on your arrival time, you can join an informal evening introduction to Newfoundland, whale biology and local ecology. Accommodation: Hotel Harbourview – 6-nights.

  2. Day 2: Free day in St John's

  3. Day 3: Introductory boat trip to see whales, puffins and other seabirds

    This morning a two hour voyage on the Atlantic Whaler, provides an introduction to the ocean and local whale population. You’ll also see tens of thousands of puffins (Newfoundland’s provincial bird), twenty miles south of St. John’s is North America’s largest puffin colony – at Witless Bay Ecological. You’ll also see hundreds of thousands of other seabirds, including the world’s largest colonies of guillemots, razorbills and storm petrels. Newfoundland has over 300 different bird species, and is home to falcons, hawks and ospreys. There will be an opportunity to assist with a whale census, before driving to the eastern edge of North America for more whale-watching. Your breakfast, lunch and dinner is included today.

  4. Day 4: Full day boat trip to watch humpbacks and minkes

    Today you’ll spend some six hours watching whales from a coast guard certified vessel. Humpbacks and minkes are the cetacean species most commonly seen, but dolphins and fin whales are sighted occasionally. As twenty different species of whale have been spotted in Newfoundland waters, you can expect the occasional surprise. The focus will be on photographing tail flukes, recognising individuals, recording their behaviour, feeding ecology, and just enjoying the sights. There may be an opportunity to get involved in hydrophone development research, and listen to the sounds humpbacks make while they feed, plus any vocalisations associated with other types of behaviour. Your breakfast and lunch is included today, you will need to make your own arrangements for dinner.

  5. Day 5: Whale watching from land

    Today you can enjoy whale watching from land, as you view the world’s largest population of humpbacks. Seeing caribou or even an individual moose, spotting humpbacks lunge feeding on a beach, and watching the local seal population may further enrich the day. Photographers will enjoy the scenic coastline and its various lighthouses, as well as the whales, whilst bird lovers will enjoy the small seabird colonies near the whale study lookouts. This day is frequently one of the highlights of the entire trip as you enjoy close-up views of humpbacks while they cruise along their feeding beach. Your breakfast and lunch is included today, you will need to make your own arrangements for dinner.

  6. Day 7: Another full day boat trip to watch humpbacks

    Humpback tails are as distinctive as human faces or fingerprints, and during today’s six hours on the water you’ll attempt to get scientifically useful tail shots that allow you to identify individual whales and mother calf pairs. This provides considerable insight into the whales range and life history. You’ll learn how to contribute to the worldwide study of both humpbacks and orcas. If the science doesn’t excite you, just sit back and enjoy the gentle antics of the whales and the North Atlantic’s other rich wildlife. Your breakfast and lunch is included today, you will need to make your own arrangements for dinner.

  7. Day 7: Visit a gannet colony and land based whale watching

    Today you’ll further study the richness of the Atlantic as you visit the continent’s third largest and most spectacular gannet colony. The presence of tens of thousands of other seabirds with their chicks are the undoubted highlight of the day, but you’ll also have an opportunity to do some of the world’s best land-based whale watching from the sea-cliffs which provide a perfect vantage point. This means you can witness one of the planet’s most impressive marine spectacles without even boarding a boat! A farewell barbecue or a group supper is planned for this evening. Your breakfast, lunch and dinner is included today.

  8. Day 8: Depart St John’s

    The day is free to explore the historic city of St. John’s until your eventual departure time. You can visit Signal Hill, where inventor Guglielmo Marconi received the first ever transatlantic wireless transmission, or see the spot from which pioneer aviators Alcock and Brown departed on the first successful non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1919. Alternatively, you may wish to make one last visit to the whales. Transfer to the airport in the afternoon for your flight back to the UK. Your breakfast is included today, but you will need to make your own arrangements for lunch and dinner.

  9. Day 9: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 9 days from £3,445 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 8 days from £2,645 pp
  • Single supplement: From £395
  • Group size: 20: (average group is 6-12 people)
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Transfers
    • 7 nights hotel accommodation
    • Most meals
    • Guided activities
Featured location:

Newfoundland

Each year large numbers of whale, dolphins and porpoises migrate to the waters around the Newfoundland coast – about 15 species are normally present, seasonally or year round. St. Mary’s Bay is well-known for whale watching, and is easy to reach on a self-drive tour from the capital, St John’s.

  • Where: Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Ideal for viewing: fin whale, humpback whale, minke whale, pilot whale, sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Whale watching, Dolphin watching