Getting the best Sightings
However, the best sightings are achieved with a specialist whale and dolphin watching operator. They offer dedicated cetacean cruises on live aboard ‘safari’ boats, which will give you the very best chance of numerous close encounters. Make sure that your cruise is led by a suitably experienced naturalist, who will know which atolls to visit for the most sightings, and who will ensure that international whale watching standards are maintained in order to minimize disturbance to the animals.
Whales and dolphins are found in abundance in the Maldives throughout the year, but they are easiest to spot when the sea is flat calm. The best time to visit is therefore January to May, when the weather in the Maldives is at its calmest and sunniest.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Imagine the excitement of watching a great whale blowing, its powerful body surging through the water. Or a host, of dolphins leaping from the sea, in energetic bounds just a few feet in front of you. If this appeals to you, then the Maldives has what you are looking for.
Over 20 different whale and dolphin species can be seen here. Compare this with the handful or less that are regularly seen at most other destinations and you will see why the Maldives is so attractive for whale and dolphin watchers. In addition to this great diversity of species, another great attraction of whale and dolphin watching in the Maldives is that it is so easy and comfortable. No problem with arctic winds here! There are very few other places where you can relax under tropical skies, watching giant whales swim past right in front of you.
The “Big Three” are the sperm whale, Bryde’s whale and, biggest of them all, the blue whale. Pilot whales are particularly common, while other specialties’ include dwarf sperm whales and Cuvier’s beaked whales. Melon-headed whales are commonest around the southern atolls, where they occur in enormous schools of 500 or more, and regularly bow ride.
Among the dolphins, by far the most abundant, and the most acrobatic, is the spinner dolphin. Several other varieties, including Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins and striped dolphins are also common.
If you are confused by all these names, don’t worry. A whale and dolphin watching cruise in the Maldives, with an expert naturalist on board, will soon have you separating your false killer whales from your pygmy killer whales.
What do we see?
Of course, nothing can be guaranteed with wild animals, but on a typical whale watching cruise in the Maldives you can expect to see a dozen or so different species. This will include several species that are only very rarely seen in other countries.
As well as all the whales and dolphins, you can also expect to see numerous seabirds, and turtles, manta rays, sailfish and whale sharks.