So, having decided you wish to join the many thousands who have witnessed whales close-up, your next step is to source the right whale watching tour operator, and with quite a few out there, it can seem like a challenge to know which one is best. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice when it comes to booking a whale watching trip.
- Established with a Good Reputation – It isn’t simply a question of whether or not you’ll see whales, as safety is of prime concern, so look for an outfit that has been in business for at least several years and, most importantly, has a 100% safety record. The ideal operator would have top boats; powerful little vessels that can put you in the right places at the right times, plus their skippers would be experienced and know the waters very well.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions – You might, for example, wish to know how close the boats can get to the whales, and the general rule of thumb is that a vessel will not get any closer than 100m from an adult whale; which doesn’t mean the whales won’t come to the boat to investigate, which they often do. If this happens, the boat will remain still until the whale has cleared the immediate area, and these close encounters can and do happen!
- Look for a No Whale-Free Trip Policy – The leading operators of whale watching in Sydney are so confident of making contact with whales that they will offer you another trip in the event no whales are encountered, which is a very rare thing if you go during the season. You can look at this as a kind of warranty and such an offer reflects the confidence of the tour operator that you will see whales.
- Bad Weather Postponements – These do occur and in the event your whale watching trip is put off due to bad weather, the tour operator will give you another date, and they will do their best to fit in with your schedule. Of course, this is something you should check prior to making a booking; indeed, most websites would have an FAQ page where you will find answers to many questions.
- The Whales Come First – The tour operator you choose should be one that always puts the whales first and will not do anything to disturb these wild creatures that are merely passing through. Every skipper should be fully qualified and very experienced at taking people to observe whales, indeed, his skill and experience could be the difference between a dud day and a memorable one!
Another way to check on any whale watching tour operator is to search for online reviews, as this tells you how the customers felt about their experience. Of course, every whale watching tour operator will tell you their service is second to none, but reading customer reviews is the best way to determine whether or not that is the case.