Have you ever heard the soul singing melodies of whales? Our Whale Monitoring Experience has no comparison to any other expedition; guided by a certified biologist, passionate about saving the mysteries that the sea holds within.
We start the day at 7:00 in the morning at MCEC Innoceana Costa Rica to discuss the whale monitoring techniques and how hydrophones work, as well as how ecotourism can become beneficial when it shares scientific and conservation purposes. Every year, curious and majestic creatures, the Humpback whales, visit the South Pacific of Costa Rica from July to October and from January to March. In between the warm waves, it is very easy to spot them. They arrive to reproduce, give birth and raise their babies.
After some morning coffee to energize the body, a bus picks the tour group and drives up to Sierpe at 8:00 AM, where the captain is waiting in our comfortable and fully equipped boat that will lead us into the adventure. The Mokarran boat is specifically designed for research and conservation. To get to the open seas, it is a must to ride through one of the most biodiverse environments: the mangroves. As one of the largest wetlands of Costa Rica, wildlife spotting like crocodiles, capuchin and howler monkey troops, toucans, and other exotic birds are expected.
At approximately 10:00 AM, we find ourselves near Corcovado and arrive at the open Pacific Ocean, where we prepare for a life-changing experience. The crew starts preparing professional equipment like hydrophones to listen to the whale’s melodies, and a drone to get diverse angles of the whales grasping for breaths or jumping into the air. Moreover, as a marine research center, we collect different samples of water to test its salinity and compare it to other samples we have collected before. It is crucial to understand the effects of global warming and the impact of human prints, as we have recently encountered a growing scale of red tides.
As soon as the hydrophone slips into the salty water, we start recording the mesmerizing chants. This info will be saved and analyzed with a special algorithm to study the whale’s enchanting and intriguing communication. The whole boat listens to the mother and baby communicating with each other, since it is connected to a special speaker. Because it is the season when they are traveling to this side of the coast, it is probable to encounter more than one pair of whales.
To accompany the trip, we offer deliciously prepared food: burritos and chocolate banana bread. We might enjoy it on the boat or travel a little more to a nearby beach, where it is accessible to enjoy the sun, landscape, and swim in the sea. Afterwards, everyone gets to analyze and compare the previously collected samples of the salinity of the water. It is an experience full of knowledge and scientific innovative techniques.
On the way back, more wildlife spotting in the open seas is awaiting to be seen. As Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet, there are different species of turtles, fish, and packs of dolphins playing around the boat. Your eyes definitely will not be disappointed.
The tour ends at 3:00 PM after an exchange of experiences and a quick debrief on the observations with some tea, coffee, and snacks in hand. We recommend that if you decide to explore with us that you bring reef friendly sunscreen, a set of binoculars, a camera, and a towel. Maybe some tissues, as tears might stream down your face after witnessing the songs of these majestic creatures.
Photos by Alessandra De Zaldo