6 Ways to Have Your Mind Blown by Whales
Why whales at Islas Secas will blow your mind… Whale season is upon us, and we’re expecting huge numbers to migrate to our waters once again. Here’s why seeing them at Islas Secas is a life-changing experience…
1) A Truly Unique Location
Panama’s beautiful Gulf of Chiriquí, home to Islas Secas, is the only place on the planet that is known to host two entirely separate populations of migrating humpback whales. One comes down from the northern hemisphere in December, while the second population comes up from the south in July. “Humpback populations have increased dramatically since the ban on whale-hunting in 1986, and that’s very exciting,” says Kirsten Rasmussen, Islas Secas’s whale expert. If you’re very lucky, you can even see the two populations mingle.
2) Babies A-Go-Go
“This is a very important nursery area,” says Kirsten. “At least 50% of the visiting whales have a calf, which are raised here in the warmer waters before they return to the cooler feeding areas.” That means not only are you very likely to watch whales in season, chances are they will be accompanied by a (very adorable) calf.
3) See Whales From Your Bed
We are blessed with some of the world’s best land-based whale-watching. That means you can catch glimpses of them breaching and blowing from the comfort of your Casita or while you’re enjoying lunch at Terraza. We’ve also added lookout points from our on-island trails, so wherever you are, you can gaze out and have the chance of seeing these magnificent creatures.
4) Expert-led Encounters
Get closer to our visiting giants on our sustainable, sensitive whale-watching trips with resident naturalist Beny. We follow strict guidelines, allowing breathtaking encounters without disturbing the whales. You might even get to experience a hydrophone, where we stop and listen in on the whales’ mysterious songs. “Each population has its own song,” explains Kirsten. “They have different themes and phrases sung in the same order, and all whales from one population will sing the same song. But the song does change – by the end of the season, it may be a little bit different.”
5) Make a Difference
We’re proud of our scientific research – and you can join in. Just take a picture of a whale’s “fluke”, or tale, and we can then share it through the HappyWhale app, allowing scientists around the world to share data and track whales. “It inspires guests to think differently, and young people really become conservation stewards,” explains Kirsten. “It’s hard to leave without that sense of awe.”
6) Protect Whales Just by Being Here
Our latest research is into Bryde’s whales, which Kirsten is currently studying. “There’s not much known about them, but we’ve discovered a local hotspot around the Contreras Islands. If we find the population is small and unique, that will trigger conservation measures”.