Whale watching

Whale Watching in the Mediterranean

When I was in Albay in the Philippines last year, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t whale watching season and I didn’t get a chance to see those amazing creatures. Whilst I knew there were some whales in the Mediterranean, I never actually considered the Mediterranean to be a place for whale watching, thinking they were just too rare. I was so wrong!

Are there whales in the Mediterranean Sea?

There are several species of whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Grouped together with dolphins, they are also known as cetaceans – aquatic mammals. Some of the biggest whales you can find here are fin whales and sperm whales. Whilst those are apparently fairly rare to see, dolphins are much more common. Almost all of my offshore sailing friends have seen groups dolphins at some point. On our “standard” routes between Barcelona and the Balearic islands, it’s actually rare to do a crossing where we don’t see dolphins. They love boats, and will hang out and accompany you, jumping around and racing you.

Whale & dolphin watching from a sailboat

I’ve seen lots of criticism of advertised whale watching tours in other parts of the world because whales seem to be fed to be encouraged to stay around. Whilst that’s surely still better than making the animals live in aquariums, it’s still not completely natural. And if you’re patient and enjoying just being on the water, it’s also just not necessary. All the whale and dolphin watching I’ve done has been off sailboats. We were doing long passages from Barcelona to Ibiza, Formentera or Menorca, and keeping an eye out for the wild life around us.

Video: Whale watching in the Mediterranean

Here’s my personal highlight of this year’s whale & dolphin watching so far: A pod of sperm whales who came to hang out with our Bavaria 50 sailboat during my recent offshore practice with Escola Port in Barcelona! Big credit to our skipper Raul for steering us as close as possible to these guys without scaring them off. Although in the end they were coming to us rather than the other way around!