See Beluga Whales in the Wild : Where, When and How

See Beluga Whales in the Wild : Where, When and How

.

Beluga whales are nicknamed the ‘canaries of the sea’ as they emit a constant scribble of noises to communicate with their pod. They are never found alone, even if a calf is orphaned another member of the group will take on the role as foster parent and teach skills like shallow breathing to avoid scraping their back on ice drifts. There is one other thing about beluga’s that is endearing, they seemingly always wear a smile. An encounter with beluga whales is a unique and rare experience, something that you have to travel miles specifically to see. I can guarantee though that once you do the whales community spirit, natural interest in other mammals and sincere faces will ensure that you have the time of your life.

.

This moment for me was a once-in-a-lifetime and so I’d like to share with you the where, when and how to See Beluga Whales in the Wild.

 

 

Where to See Beluga Whales in the Wild

One place in Canada pretty much guarantees sightings of belugas every year, the Churchill Estuary. The tiny town of Churchill, which flanks the river and Hudson Bay, is the perfect base from which you can get right into the heart of the whale action. Beluga whales arrive here on mass for mothers to give birth and raise their calves before the ice begins to freeze and they head out across the Hudson bay and into Arctic waters. The estuary is a safe haven for birthing because of its lack of ice and because predators, such as the killer whales, rarely ever pay a visit. The estuaries shallow water and rough gravel bottom also provides a perfect scratching ground for the whales allowing them to shed their skin.

.

How to See Beluga Whales in the wild. Where, When, How, Churchill, Belugas, Explore Manitoba

.

When to See Beluga Whales in the Wild

The Beluga whales generally arrive on the western shores of Hudson bay in June and depart in August, there are literally hundreds of them.

.

.

How to See Beluga Whales in the Wild

Once you’ve made it to Churchill you have one more decision to make, what sort of encounter with belugas would you like? You can swim with belugas, kayak with belugas or take boat tours to observe belugas. The rest is easy, you book a boat tour the day before departure and off you go. There are two companies which offer tours while Frontiers North Adventures include several whale watching trips into their 3day/3night tour itinerary. Sea North and Lazy Bear Lodge both offer day trips for independent travelers. 2 hour estuary trips cost C$115p/p, 4 hour snorkeling tours (including wetsuit, masks and snorkel hire) cost C$220p/p and 3 hour kayaking tours cost roughly C$160p/p, single and double kayaks can be arranged.

.

How to See Beluga Whales in the wild. Where, When, How, Churchill, Belugas, Explore Manitoba

.

Prue and I opted to go snorkeling with beluga whales and took a boat tour. Swimming in Arctic waters is obviously not a warm experience but before we knew it over two hours had passed. The playful interaction from the beluga’s was something I have rarely experienced with marine mammals, lapping beneath us time and time again, twisting and turning and bending their unusually agile heads to stare at you in the eye. They even seemed to respond to any noises we made at them, although I cannot wholly confirm it :).

.

How to See Beluga Whales in the wild. Where, When, How, Churchill, Belugas, Explore Manitoba

 

 

Churchill is also popular for its close proximity to Polar Bear denning sites, even in the summer months Polar Bears can be found roaming around (and yes there’s proof —> ‘Churchill: Polar Bears in Summer‘).

 

 

.

Return to our Explore Manitoba page or our ‘100 Day Ultimate Canadian Road Trip’ guide.

 

 

 

 

Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

7 Comments

We Would Love to Hear From You...

Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.
Trips100 - Travel Blogs
Trips100