Watch as colossal creatures of the sea frolick, dance and blow in touching distance
A whale of a time
“Whales in the cove!” is a call that will have you on your feel in an instant.
The entire coastline of Newfoundland plays host to a variety of whales throughout the year, but for those seeking certain species, we are happy to offer advice. The northern tip of Newfoundland is strategically located at the mouth of the Strait of Belle Isle. This strait serves as the ‘conveyor belt’ for fish moving between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean.
Many bird and whale species take advantage of this concentration of prey, spending considerable time around the tip of the Northern Peninsula, near L’Anse aux Meadows and Quirpon Island. It’s a veritable buffet for a wide range of whale species! Humpbacks are very common and a favourite of viewers due to their spectacular tail displays. Minke are also plentiful, while other species such as Orca come from Labarador to visit from mid-July onward.
Your visit to Quirpon Lighthouse Inn will have you tuning your hearing to the whoosh of whales surfacing in Lighthouse Cove, The Tickle or right beside the lighthouse. The sound of their spray will have you on your feet in an instant, and you may even get to be the one who calls, “Whales in the cove!”
Quirpon’s whale-watching hotspots
The island offers a number of excellent vantage points to watch the whales go about their work:
· Our whale-watching station with floor-to-ceiling windows is perfect anytime.
· Our helipad is the idea place to watch from at sunrise and sunset, affording a full and unimpeded view if Iceberg Alley.
· Everyone finds their favourite rocky outcrop from which to scan the waters – which will be yours?
· We even keep binoculars at hand in the dining room so you won’t miss a move! (Hint: Sit on the side of the dining room that allows you to watch for a performance during supper.)
The rare whale sights of Cape Anguille
Near Cape Anguille Lighthouse Inn, located in Newfoundland’s southern waters, off the southwest coast of the island, you may be lucky enough to spot a holidaying beluga whale – a rare opportunity indeed. The massive blue whale (the largest animal ever to have existed anywhere on the Earth – dinosaurs included!) can also be found off this corner of the island during parts of the year.
Eco-friendly whale watching – how to watch and listen
Boats and kayaks provide excellent opportunities to spot the whales from sea level, and at Linkum Tours we use both. Our concern, however, rests with the whales and we follow a strict policy of non-interference. While we may come near the whales as we explore the coast in kayaks or during our ferry service to Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, we do not pursue whales and we endeavour to minimize our impact on their feeding and other activities.
That said, there are many times when the whale’s curiosity will bring them close to us as we watch. The dolphins are another treat for those in kayaks. They will leap over the bow and look you in the eye! Our hydrophone allows you to hear their chatter and calls as you paddle among them. If you have a camera that can take a quick dunking, bring it along. You won’t be the first to snap a shot of a whale under your boat!
If watching from dry land is more your flabour, we have you amply covered. Viewing from the lighthouse itself is optimal. As you stand on the rocks, the whales are unaware of your presence and the deep water allows them to come next to you as they chase capelin and other fish. With the right light, you can actually look down through the water and see the Humpbacks as they swim at your feet. Just be prepared for a soaking if they decide to blow as they surface a mere foot away from you, just off the rocks!
The helipad at Quirpon offers a view down the eastern and western sides of the island, allowing you to see the whales as they come north to head down the other side of Newfoundland, or on up the coast of Labrador. Meanwhile, our indoor whale-watching station allows you to sit during inclement weather and still hear the whales as they surface. Many days it is quiet enough to read in the station and still hear the whales as they come up for air.
During calm early mornings, you can sometimes hear the whales as they blow in the cove. With an alarm clock like this, you will be more than ready to start the day!
Our Inns offer perfect accommodations for whale watching.