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Best whale watching company in Nova Scotia?


Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:12 PM
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Best whale watching company in Nova Scotia?

We will be in Nova Scotia in September, 2010. Would like to take my kids (10 and 13) whale watching, but I want to get the most bang for the buck. Does anyone know which whale watching outfit is best, and which area of the province (Fundy, Cabot Straight, Lunenbourg)? Why do you recommend them / that area of the province?
Cally is offline  
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:49 AM
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There are basically 2 areas in the province to go whale watching - on the Bay of Fundy from Digby down to the south end of Digby Neck and in Cape Breton centered on Pleasant Bay at the northern end of the Cabot Trail. There are whale watching tours from other locations (Halifax for example) but the chances of actually seeing whales are limited. My wife and I operate a B&B on Cape Breton Island and are, therefore, somewhat prejudice towards the Island but I would reluctantly admit that the whalewatching experience off Digby Neck is more spectacular that in Cape Breton. Off Digby Neck your chances of seeing the larger whales (humpbacks, etc) are generally greater. In Cape Breton the success rate for seeing whales in general is likely a little higher and you will only rarely have trips cancelled because of fog but humpback sightings (although increasing) are rare.

One of the benefits of doing your whale watching in Cape Breton is that there is so much else to do on the Island. The Cabot Trail is unquestionably the most scenic drive in eastern Canada, there are superb hikes throughout the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Fortress of Louisbourg is, in my opinion, the best historical reconstruction on the continent, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, the Highland Village in Iona and the Cape Breton Miner's Museum in Glace Bay would make great entertainment great for your kids (and you too), and you can catch great Celtic/Cape Breton music every night somewhere on the Island. Additionally, the beaches all along the west coast of Cape Breton rival those in PEI and, like in PEI, the water is warm enough to swim in. No where else in the province can you get so much in one area.

Having said all that, no matter where you choose to go in Nova Scotia you will have a great time.

paradisefound is offline  
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:35 AM
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Thanks for the great advice. I think we will hang out in Cape Breton a little longer, and do our whale watchig there!
Cally is offline  
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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Whale watching in the lower Bay of Fundy is much better than from Cape Breton. Cape Breton has pilot whales primarily, although there are other species sometimes.
Lower Bay of Fundy [Brier Island etc] has fin whales, humpbacks and northern right whales, plus minkes, white-sided dolphins etc.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 09:45 PM
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Cally - I can recommend the Zodiac whale watching out of Tiverton (Digby Neck area). I went in 2008 and it was amazing. The boat ride itself was exciting (the kids will love it), and we were able to get to the whales a lot quicker than the big boats did, so we saw more of them and got closer to them. Tom, the owner and tour guide, was very knowledgable and shared lots of information during the trip, but I never felt like I got an "educational lecture" and not enough actual experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
toedtoes is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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We too took a whalewatch out of the Digby area (can't remember the company name) on a smallish boat, not a Zodiac. It seemed that all the whalewatch captains keep in radio contact with each other, so when one spots where the whales are they share that info. There are not so many of them that you find yourself in a watery traffic jam though. My guess is that the operators are all pretty much alike in price and itinerary, except for the Zodiac, which I'd love to try next time.
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