October 04, 2016
*Humpback Whales come to visit the coast of Puerto Vallarta in Banderas Bay, searching for warm, calm waters for their mating ritual and for the birthing of their young. Their visit lasts approximately 4 months (from December through March, although in some cases the season begins as early as November). They then return to their long journey along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in the United States.
During their mating season it is known that they are the only cetaceans that compete and even fight to obtain the attention of the females. To achieve this objective, the males display various behaviors, such as jumping, slapping their tails and fins, singing and aggressively competing in their courting groups.
These jumps and rituals are admired year after year by all the tourists who visit us. Meanwhile, the City of Puerto Vallarta recommends that tourists and those interested in whale watching choose certified companies for this activity. They are the only ones who ensure protection of the species and the safety of their passengers, since there are a number of regulations authorized by SEMARNAT for the sighting of these sea giants.
There are three basic rules for whale watching:
1. Cause minimal impact on the whales.
2. Be patient.
3. Go whale watching only on boats or with companies that have the corresponding authorization.
WHALE WATCHING REGULATIONS
• The minimum distance at which you can watch the whales is 80 meters for vessels without whale watching permission, while vessels authorized for this activity can get as close as 30 meters.
• The maximum allowable speed of navigation within the viewing areas is 8 km/hr; at all times the boat must go slower than the slowest whale in the group.
• Avoid sudden changes in speed and direction in an area of 300 meters from the nearest whale, since this scares them and could cause an accident.
• If the whales try to avoid you, change their direction or their breathing rate, or modify their activity, do not get any closer and slowly move away.
• The correct way to approach a whale is from the rear, never the front or by surrounding them, as this can be threatening for them.
• Mothers with calves are extremely sensitive, so it is very important to approach carefully.
• It is forbidden to cause the dispersion of a group of whales or interrupt their activities.
• Do not throw or pour any type of debris, especially plastics, cigarette butts, synthetic garbage or any debris that could cause problems for animals if ingested.
• You may not sports or commercially fish close to the whales.
• Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing and jet skiing activities are not permitting in areas where the whales are. It can be dangerous and may alter the natural behavior of these animals.
• For your own safety, use a life vest.
If you visit Puerto Vallarta during these months, whale watching is an activity that you certainly will not want to miss. Dare to live a magical experience admiring the majestic creations of nature, and remember not to forget your camera!
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