Whale/dolphin Excursions

Questions or tips on tours, excursions, ecotourism and activities.

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mickers5
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Whale/dolphin Excursions

Post by mickers5 » Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:48 pm

We have been to PV three times and we are coming again later this month. I see a lot of descriptions of whale/dolphin excursions. Can anyone tell me if these are worthwhile?

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Post by webmaster » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:11 pm

I think the whale season is from November to March, so if you plan on seeing any of these mammals you need to take the tour in that period. Dolphins I guess are visible all year round. Don't forget to use certified providers who know how to take care of the sea beings.

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Post by davilin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:42 pm

Mogens, Wasn't there a list of certified operators on this board a while back?

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Post by webmaster » Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:58 pm


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Whales

Post by Jennybean » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:18 pm

That would be last year's list - that would not apply to this coming season because they haven't given out the permits yet (some boats change on that list from season to season so it's best to wait for the new list).

In addition, whale seasons do not begin until December 15th - you cannot legally approach a whale before then, and after that date you cannot approach them without a legal permit that allows you to do so.

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Post by webmaster » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:04 pm

Thanks. Anyway, I imagine the site owner will update the list when the season approaches, one can expect most of the big names will continue in the new list... no?

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Post by Jennybean » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:12 pm

Some big names will, some won't...the system is fickle, depends sometimes. You know how things work in Mexico - one day you're in, next day you're not so to say that a big boat on the 2006/2007 list will be on it again for 2007/2008 is premature. The only ones I could say IMO* are definites are the Open Air Expeditions boats (most definitely them, because they operate the whale & dolphin study and preservation programs) and probably Vallarta Adventures boats. Anyone else, you just never know...

It's really best to wait for the final list. OAE usually posts it very soon after it's finalized.

*my opinion only, based on historical lists and permit granting over the past few years

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Post by katnsocal » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:50 pm

Just a clarification....

UNLESS you are specifically operating as a whale watching tour, you do not need a permit to whale watch. (i.e. a fishing, sightseeing, snorkeling tour that comes across whales on the bay has all the same rights as a "whale watching" boat does.) The permits are expensive, and the is alot of "mordida" paid to obtain the "limited #" of permits. But that # is controlled by the amount of $$$ you are willing to slip under the table to the guy issuing the permits (thus the new and revised list every year). The average small boat owner who operates offering more than whale watching services usually does not find it financially advantageous to purchase a permit to just whale watch. The non-whale watching boats which are operating in the harbor all-year-long and not just during whale season have to pay for permits the whale watching boats are not required to pay for so alot of them opt to not focus on just whale watching.

The laws are international laws, meaning the same restrictions apply to everyone as to how long, how close, how many boats, etc. can be near the whales.

Whales are free, wild and beautiful creatures and they do approach boats on their own. Just beacuse a boat has a whale near it does not mean it has broken the law, we have had whales come right up to our boat and just sit there. All you can do in that case is stop the prop and wait for them to leave. Some, but not all, of the "whale watching" boats will chase the whales all over the bay all day long just to deliver what they are offering and get those tip jars full by the end of the trip. We listen to them every day on the marine radios telling each other where the whales are and then you can literally watch all the boats change course and head right for them. They "stress" the whales more than anything else.

Because of all the focus of "official whale watching boats" people think that is the only way you can legally watch whales on the bay.

Don't misunderstand what I am saying, the good whale watching boats are responsible and they do a great job of educating you about the whales, but "not every boat" with a whale watching permit operates in that fashion.

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Post by webmaster » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:08 pm

Excellent points Kat. Food for thought. Thanks for that.

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mordida

Post by femme » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:41 pm

ive noticed the term mordida used when it is involving licences. i just want to make it very clear to people that the ones paying the morditas really should not be there in line in the first place . odvious compromise on the part of the tour operator will be visible. a final comment , i wouldnt want to ride on the boat that anyone pays a mordita to run because for certain your safety will be compromised as well

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Whales

Post by Jennybean » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:45 pm

UNLESS you are specifically operating as a whale watching tour, you do not need a permit to whale watch. (i.e. a fishing, sightseeing, snorkeling tour that comes across whales on the bay has all the same rights as a "whale watching" boat does.)
Yes, absolutely. Which is why I was careful when I say you cannot approach a whale w/o a permit...if they approach YOU and you don't have one, that's nature and unpredictable and cannot be legislated. :)

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Post by katnsocal » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:05 am

Femme,

There are a supposed "limited number of permits" issued each year for "whale watching". So if you want to get a permit it comes with a cost. Either you are up close and personal friends with the person who is doing the paperwork to issue the permits or you pay for it. It does not mean that the level of safety is any less, it means someone wanted to be able to offer their boat for whale watching only. The integrity of the boat is dependent on the captain and crew regardless of what permits they hold.

JB,

It is kinda hard to keep them from doing what they want to do, :D

Any boat that is operating legally in the bay is allowed to approach them regardless of whether or not they hold a permit according to international maritime law. The boats that have whale watching permits have them because that is the requirement for offering whale watching trips only. All the other boats have to pay all-year permits to take tourists out sightseeing, permit for fishing, permit for visiting Los Arcos, permit for snorkeling. Every permit comes with a seperate price, which is why most small boats don't bother to get the whale watching permit, as they can legally take customers out on a tour sightseeting, snorkeling, fishing, etc. and still legally approach the whales if they come across them.

Thus the "official list" of boats with permits is rather a mute point. That is a list of boats who have gotten a permit to operate whale watching cruises only. The first one to get it published is usually OA adventures, which is a very good tour operator. "The list" is a subtle means of promotion by telling everyone that these are the boats with the permits to "whale watch". It makes it appear, to those who do not know better, that those boats are the only ones permitted to do so and gives the impression that all other boats are not operating legally.

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