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Whale Watching: observing marine mammals

in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

The Mediterranean is full of marine mammals such as dolphins, whales and sperm whales. Along the Provencal coastline or off the Côte d’Azur, come and discover the best spots to see them… responsibly. Focus on the best deals and precautions to make your “whale watching” outing a success!


Many species to watch

Did you know that there are 11 species of cetaceans in the Mediterranean? 8 of them are quite easy to see: the Striped Dolphin, the Large Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, the Pilot Whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale, the Sperm Whale and the Fin Whale which is the biggest mammal in the world after the Blue Whale. And if you’re really patient, you may even see other species such as sharks, turtles, swordfish, sunfish etc. If you’re lucky enough to see one, take the time to watch their very specific behaviours.  On the boat, they will explain the factors which can explain their presence or absence off our coastlines: searching for food, mating or even physiological capacities. It’s a real pleasure to make the most of a sea outing and see our beautiful coastline which is the habitat of so many marine species. And don’t worry, it is extremely rare to not see anything during a “whale watching” outing! Choose the right service provider to accompany you and get a better chance of seeing the sought-after cetaceans in their natural habitat. Most of them are in the Var or the Alpes Maritimes, such as l’Atlantide in Bandol and BeeFreetoDive in Villeneuve-Loubet.

Choose a responsible company

The best period to get a good chance of seeing the cetaceans is from April to October. To get close to our favourite cetaceans, the most important rule is Respect. To make your outings responsible, get information from the different service providers and choose a professional with a sustainable brand, certification or label such as High Quality Whale-Watching®. Choosing companies with these labels guarantees an outing with an environmentally friendly approach which is consistent with the code of good conduct for the observation of cetaceans.   Why choose these professionals? Because a sea outing with sea lovers is priceless. On the menu: a naturalist approach with an educational aspect and awareness of marine wildlife. Even though you’re at a distance it’ll never stop cetaceans from putting on their show, following the boat and giving an aerial ballet which will bring a sparkle to your eyes!

“Whale watching”?

We are going to explain it all! “Whale watching” is simply watching whales (but not only whales!) in their natural habitat. Even though some marine mammals are in danger of extinction, it is difficult to follow them closely and watch them. The main challenge of “whale watching is therefore to give the public the possibility of watching these marine animals and limiting their footprint as much as possible to avoid disturbing the marine ecosystem. The “whale watching activity is often linked to emblematic sites such as Pico Island in the Azores, The Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada and the island of Sainte-Marie in Madagascar. Nevertheless, not many people actually know, but this can also be done in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur! Whale watching means committed service providers who benefit from different approvals such as the High-Quality Whale-Watching® certification stemming from the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS).

“See on sea” to share your observations

So you’d like to share what you see? Join See on Sea., the network dedicated to sharing knowledge and observations at sea. Go to their site or on the mobile app to discover what the other users have shared : wildlife, natural phenomena, remarkable sites, etc. There’s something for all of you who love the sea and cetaceans. By sharing your observations, you’ll be taking part in the protection of ecosystems and helping people understand these sensitive natural places. Also available on dry land, See on Trail offers the same possibilities on less aquatic terrain! We can’t wait to see your posts!

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