antarctica spyhopping whale and zodiac qe

Antarctica Whale Watching Holidays

An impressive list of cetaceans frequent the southern oceans of Antarctica during the summer including orcas, humpbacks and minke whales.

Few spectacles in the natural world beat the sight of a breaching humpback whale, an experience that’s only enhanced by the pristine surroundings, or spotting pods of killer whales – 70,000 of the world’s total population of 100,000 calls Antarctica home. If there’s such a thing as whale paradise, it exists here in Antarctica, with a supporting cast of vast colonies of penguins, seals and other seabirds.

Around the Antarctic Peninsula, humpback whales are often observed lunge feeding near the surface or breaching. These are the true extroverts of the cetacean world – waving flippers in the air, spy-hopping, bubble-net feeding or leaping vertically from the sea. They never fail to amaze. Fin and sei whales occasionally make an appearance while the more numerous minke whale is likely to be encountered near the pack ice.

Best time for whale watching

The best time for whale watching is at the end of the season during February and March when receding ice allows for easier exploration by cruise ship. Our collection of small ship voyages to Antarctica visit some prime areas for whale watching; the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, the Ross Sea and Sub-Antarctic Islands.

One of the key features of a polar voyage is the wildlife encounters and whale watching certainly plays its part – it’s the icing on the cake of an already memorable trip of a lifetime!

Special Interest Departures

If you’re after a deeper insight into cetacean activity then a special focus voyage is highly recommended. Check departure dates on individual voyages to see when these are available.

antarctic peninsula watching orca spyhopping from zodiac qe