Whale Watching Cruises in the Gulf of Mexico

For the last week or so, we’ve been writing about whale watching cruises in the Gulf of Mexico, or rather we’ve been writing about the lack of whale watching cruises in the Gulf of Mexico. Searches for whale watching cruises in all the states along the Gulf of Mexico turned up essentially nothing, so if you are hoping to whale watch in the Gulf of Mexico, you’re basically out of luck. However, we’ve unearthed some good alternatives to whale watching in the Gulf of Mexico, which we detail below, and we also offer some speculation as to why whale watching doesn’t seem to exist in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is, to be sure, somewhat bizarre to write an article about something that doesn’t exist. However, as we pointed out in articles concerning specific states along the Gulf of Mexico, it is surprising that no whale watching cruises exist in this part of the world. When writing articles about Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, we kept expecting to find some form of whale watching cruise. A lot of coastline stretches across these five states, and there are many places that could serve as departure points for whale watching cruises, yet there are none. This is notable, and hence our articles about the lack of whale watching cruises, which is especially good to know if you are searching for these types of cruises. If you found this article, you’ll now save a lot of time that would have been otherwise spent on fruitless searching.

Exactly why there are not whale watching cruises is slightly harder to explain, but it presumably has to do with the relative number of whales in the Gulf of Mexico, and also with the difficulty of seeing them. There are in fact several species of whales in the Gulf of Mexico, but none of them are in abundance, perhaps because this body of water isn’t really used by migrating whales, which tend to move back and forth between cold and warm waters because of their birthing patterns. (They give birth in warm waters.) The Gulf of Mexico isn’t home to massive yearly whale migration, like the one that happens off the pacific coast, nor are there many resident whales in the area, in contrast to a place like the San Juan Islands. So, there just aren’t enough whales around that can be spotted to support whale watching cruises.

That said, there are some boating tours that are like whale watching in the Gulf of Mexico, and almost all of these focus on dolphins. There are some cruises that focus on other marine life, like manatees in Florida or swamp tours in Louisiana, and some are billed as more broadly focused “eco tours,” but the majority are dolphin tours. Like whale watching cruises, they tend to last a few hours, and you are also able to see other marine life on them. They aren’t offered in every state along the Gulf of Mexico (we couldn’t find any based in Louisiana or Mississippi), and obviously they aren’t exactly like whale watching cruises, but if you feel like getting on the ocean to see some marine life, these are a good way to do this, even if you are most interested in seeing whales.

So, alas, there are no whale watching tours in the Gulf of Mexico, even though it seems like there would be. There aren’t enough whales in the area, and the whales that are there are infrequently spotted. However, if you really have your heart set on taking a boating tour to see animals, there are some alternatives, although your options will of course depend of the state in which you are living or visiting.

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