Whale watching season starts with a splash in Atlantic Canada
This year the region's whale watching season has started with a splash, as local conservationists have announced that numbers of the endangered North Atlantic Right have reached a milestone of 500, an increase of more than two thirds in the past ten years.
Scientists credit a rerouting of the shipping lanes by New Brunswick-based Irving Oil in the Bay of Fundy in 2003 to the rise of the world's most endangered large whale, with a growth in numbers on average of two per cent annually.
Just over five hours flight from London, Atlantic Canada is the closest part of North America to the United Kingdom. While the North Atlantic Right Whale is very rare, visitors to Atlantic Canada can encounter a variety of whale species with tour operators throughout the region.
Where to go whale-watching in Atlantic Canada this summer:
Separating the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is the Bay of Fundy. Home to the world's highest tides, the plankton-rich waters make it one of North America's favourite hotspots for whale watching. While numbers of the North Atlantic Right Whale continue to recover, the waters of New Brunswick's Grand Manan Island offer the most regular sightings of the species.
Join Whales-n-Sails Adventures for the chance to see the species around the feeding waters of Gran Manan from $65 (approx. £41 per adult) and from $45 (approx. £29) per child. Daily tours available from 25 June to 18 September.
In neighbouring Nova Scotia, standout areas for whale watching include northern Cape Breton Island where boat trips depart from various communities along the Island's scenic 300km Cabot Trail. Digby Neck in the Bay of the Fundy also offers superb whale watching- the Finback whale, the world's second largest animal, comes to the Bay of Fundy to feed and play along with Minke, Humpback and Right whales.
Explore Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy with Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises with tours starting from just $50 (approx. £32) per adult and from $28 (approx. £18) per child (aged 6-14 years) and from $22 (approx. £14) per child (aged five and under).
Newfoundland and Labrador
The waters of Newfoundland and Labrador are home to some 22 species of whales including the sperm, pothead, blue, orca and the world's largest population of humpbacks. Observe them from a boat, kayak or seaside trail; particularly good spotting spots include the Strait of Belle Isle, Cape St Mary's and Witless Bay. The further north you go, the better the chances are of seeing whales and icebergs as they float down from the Arctic at the same time.
Take the plunge with Ocean Quest Adventures and pull on a wetsuit for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with humpback whales. A half day Whales Close Encounter Tour starts from $199 (approx. £127) per person.
Canadian Affair offers a 19 night 'Tides and Parks' tour of Atlantic Canada from £1,629 per person based on two people sharing, excluding flights. The itinerary takes in all four of the Atlantic Canada provinces with whale watching available at specific locations including Twillingate, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Digby, Nova Scotia, at an extra cost.