Zen Recreations

  Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 11:30am by Zen Recreations

Get Up Close and Personal with Zen’s Costa Rica Whale Watchers!

Everyone will feel like a kid again when your whole group gets to greet whales in person! Our Costa Rican whale encounters are as intimate as you could ever hope for, with these gentle giants often coming close enough to get us wet!

We zoom out to meet migrating “pods” (groups of whales) on a comfortable and super-stable catamaran (a twin-hulled ship) as Gray and Humpback whales - and sometimes Blue whales up to 100 feet long - pass within a few miles of the Costa Rican shore.

*** Alert! ***

Talk about something special! Whales are extremely gentle and often come right up to the boat, so it is sometimes possible to actually *touch* a whale! Whales enjoy interacting with boats and people, so much so that you could be greeted personally in a close approach – or by getting a good close up “once over” as a whale investigates and stares at our group.

When whale groups encounter a tour boat, they very often put on a deliberate show with fantastic aerial jumps, rolls and splashes. Humpbacks in particular love to cavort about and play to the camera, posing with their huge pectoral fins pointed up out of the water and showing off their bellies.

We also often hear whale songs! While whale songs are known to travel miles underwater, when whales are close by it is actually possible to hear singing from the boat. Watch them breach and entertain the children in the short video.

 

Zen Recreations’ Costa Rica tours help schools, teachers, children, and adults explore and learn about animals through experiences intended to create a deeper understanding, respect, and desire to protect all wildlife through informal learning experiences.

The whale watching jaunt starts in the morning and lasts until mid-day. After lunch, we take a charter flight back to San Jose`.                                                                                     

                                                          Find out more about our Costa Rica trip which includes whalewatching!        

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Don’t miss this amazing trip! Learn more or join up with us today! Send a free text message to 1 (929) 266-5936 and one of our friendly travel hosts will call you right away.

Some details about whales:

 

Hola Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the site of an annual Whale-a-thon! There’s almost always whale activity at Marino Ballena National Park, which is named after the “baleen” species of whales commonly seen here. (“Baleen” whales are the kind that feed on very small plankton by “filtering” the water as they swim.)

Over the course of the year, several thousand whales will call this area home, at least for a while - just not all at once. The area is well populated with Gray and Humpback whales with occasional visiting Blue whales. (Blue whales can reach nearly 100 feet!) Compare whale sizes:Credit Smithsonian Institute

Every year about 700 Humpback whales from far northern waters swim south to warmer waters, arriving in the park area calving grounds to give birth. Even larger groups of Gray whales call the park home.

The area stretches from the southern end of Playa Hermosa to the northern end of Playa Piñuela and about 9 miles (15 km) into the sea. (Marino Ballena is No.6 on the World Whale Map.)

 

This area off the Costa Rican coast is a bit unique, since there are actually two whale populations that group here to give birth at different times of the year. Antarctic families arrive in July and depart in November while their northern cousins from California and Canada come in December and leave in April. (Southern hemisphere whales are often even larger than their northern cousins.)

Whales are generally very active when tours are present, often showing off and investigating the boat. Whales will roll, arc along the surface or “breach”, where they come straight up out of the water to show off and get a look. They will sometimes point up in the air with their fins or slap the water loudly with them.

The “pectoral” fins can be very large, up to 15 feet (4.6 m) in length. These long fins can be used to maneuver, slow down or even go backwards. Individual whales have a variable amount of white on their pectoral fins and belly. This pattern is so distinctive that coloration on the undersides of the “flukes” (the tail fins) is used as identification, similar to a human fingerprint.

Around the world, there are seven major breeding stocks linked to seven major feeding areas including areas along the west coast of Africa and Central America.

During cold months some “pods” (large groups of whales) travel as far as 5,000 miles from their feeding grounds to these warm water calving grounds. Whales are mammals and warm-blooded and come to warmer waters to care for their newborn babies, called “calves”.

Gestation lasts for about 11 months, and newborns are 13-16 feet (4-5 m) long. Calves grow quickly from highly nutritious mother’s milk. Weaning occurs between 6-10 months after birth.

Whales breed once every two years (and sometimes more often).

Mothers are protective and affectionate towards their calves, swimming close and frequently touching them with their flippers.

After giving birth to 15 FOOT long babies, mothers spend the next few months preparing their calves for their long summer journey back to areas as far away as the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.

Males don’t provide parental support for calves. Much like bull elephants, some male whales sometimes chase each other and challenge each other, but they don’t actually fight. Males sing complex songs, some of which can last up to 20 minutes and be heard 20 miles (30 km) away! No one really understands whale songs, but scientists think they might be both to attract mates as well as to challenge or warn away other males.

 

Contact us today

Zen Recreations’ Costa Rica tours help schools, teachers, children, and adults explore and learn about animals through experiences intended to create a deeper understanding, respect, and desire to protect all wildlife through informal learning experiences.

Don’t miss this amazing trip! Learn more or join up with us today! Send us a message and one of our friendly travel hosts will call you right away.

Learn about the 11 days Costa Rica adventure here.

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