Whale and Dolphin Watching in St. Lucia
There is something enchanting and exciting about coming face to face with sea creatures which are 20 metres long, weigh approximately 44 tonnes and make noises that can be heard up to five miles away. The experience of encountering whales in their natural habitat makes for an adventure not easily forgotten. What is even more mind boggling is the affinity that one feels for whales and dolphins when paths cross, even if their appearance is so unlike that of other mammals.
The Caribbean waters have long been noted for their unique aquatic life, coral reefs and tropical fish. They are also a haven for Sperm, Pilot and Humpback whales and bottle-nosed dolphins. The female Sperm whales along with their calves, and the Pilot and Humpback whales are found in the St Lucian waters all year round. The male Sperm whales come to the tropical waters in large numbers during the mating season which last from October until January. When they are ready to travel back to the temperate waters off New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Canada and around Antarctica, they take with them the young males who are strong enough to make the long trip. Unlike other whale-watching destinations, in St Lucia you can see different species of whales all year round.
Like Dominica, we are lucky to have several different species of whale and dolphin in our waters, either resident in the area or passing through. Some of these are :
SPERM WHALES – Mother and calf groups possible shared with Dominica, St. Vincent and Grenada, but more research needs to be done to confirm that these are in fact the same animals – according to IFAW, who have done some research, they live here all year round.
HUMPBACKS, ORCAS, BRYDE’S, PILOTS and DOLPHINS, such as SPOTTED, SPINNERS, BOTTLENOSE, RISSO’S, and FRASERS, also some (hard to see) BEAKED WHALES, FALSE and PYGMY FILLER WHALES and PYGMY SPERM WHALES.
There are several whale watching trips available on the island and their success rate at sightings is very high with an average 10 sightings out of 12 trips. Some whale watching trips start from Vigie Cove, near the capital, Castries. On boarding you will get a preview of what to look for out in the ocean and have the opportunity to listen to some taped whale and dolphin sounds. After the briefing the boat cruises out of the cove in search of these marine mammals. Using a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) the boat heads directly to the spot where the whales were last sighted. Sonar equipment is also used in tracking these marine mammals.