See the Magnificent Humpback Whales in Itacaré, Brazil
A spectacular show from our natural environment not to be missed!
by Jaci Braga
Itacaré is a fabulous place to view the Humpback whales as they migrate up and down the eastern coast of South America. Anyone that is in Itacaré (or anywhere on the Atlantic coast of Bahia) between the months of August and November will have an incredible opportunity to view these magnificent whales during their migration.
If you book your trip through any one of our local tour offices here in Itacaré, make sure that your guide will be Capitán Magila, as he is the only true local whale watching guide in town. Magila has been doing these tours for about 8 years now and he also works with the Projecto Baleia Jubarte (Humpback Whale Project) to help monitor and protect these marvelous creatures. Magila is not only our local whale expert, but he is also a fun and passionate guide that cares deeply about the whales and about giving his passengers an incredible experience.
Prior to embarking, Magila shared all kinds of interesting facts about the humpback whales. We learned about their migration patterns, eating habits and reproduction. In addition, we learned that Brazil used to do a lot of whaling and even Itacaré was a key place where they used to hunt and slaughter the whales.
The practice got so popular that the Humpback whales became endangered of extinction for a while. Luckily, the Brazilian government (and several others) finally took action and made it illegal to hunt them. Since then, their numbers have re-bounded significantly, although there are still many countries that continue to hunt and kill our whales for food, energy, construction and commerce.
If you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to getting seasick or car sick, this tour might not be a good idea for you. If you want to do it anyways and believe that seeing the whales will be worth the risk of getting sea sick, make sure to take some Dramamine or something similar first, and bring some ginger chews with you. Magila’s boat is not that big, and the waves can get pretty big out there. Thankfully, no one on our boat got sick and we all had an amazing time!
Magila offered us a piece of fruit and a cold bottle of water during the tour, but you may want to bring some additional drinks and snacks, since the entire tour lasted about 4 to 5 hours. In addition, you will definitely want to bring sunscreen and I do recommend bringing a hat/ visor and sunglasses as well.
There is plenty of shade on the boat well, but we very much enjoyed soaking in the sun! Finally, do not forget to bring your swim suit, because Magila also turned off the engine for a bit so that we could try to hear the whales singing, and then gave us all an opportunity to jump in the ocean and even try out a stand-up paddle board that he keeps on the boat. The water was so clean, fresh and blue out there far away from the coast. It was truly wonderful!
We were lucky enough to see 7 different whales on our tour! They usually swim together in small groups and as you watch them come up out of the water it all seems to happen in slow motion, since they are so big and graceful. It truly is magnificent. First we saw a group of three whales, and we followed them for nearly half an hour. Then we spotted two whales on the other side of the boat, so we decided to follow them for a bit.
Then, on the way back home and just when we were all relaxing and thought the show was over, we ended up spotting two more! If you like the sun, the sea and seeing magnificent creatures living freely in their natural environment, then this is definitely a tour not to be missed! It is also an incredible opportunity to feel grateful for everything we’ve been given, while also remembering all of the work we still must do to protect life, our oceans and our planet.