Whales boat trip in ReunionCategories Activities, La Reunion, Zarlor
Whales boat trip
Amazing moment with a dolphins and whales boat trip
You’re dreaming of seeing whales in Reunion? The Dolphins and Whales boat trip organised by the Western Tourist Office offers several packs to enjoy 100% of a boat trip form Saint-Gilles to admire dolphins all year round or whales during the season.
What is a Zarlor ?
Zarlor is a creol word that means « treasure » !
But here, ” Zarlor ” are activities, recommendations (guided tours, sport or cutltural activities…) highlighted by the Tourist Office to discover or re discover the West part of the island.
Let’s go to Saint-Gilles’harbour!
It’s whale season in Reunion, so we opted for the trip on a small boat, the Splash, since we recently went on a catamaran trip with dolphin watching. It is also possible to go a little longer on larger boats. For today, meet at the Saint-Gilles’s harbour at the Sealife’s reception, just opposite the Réunion’s aquarium. We arrive 1/4h in advance and we are ready for this cetacean observation’s activity in Reunion.
A vest and we’re on board
We put on a life jacket, then that’s it, we board the little Splash, a 12-seater boat. It’s covered to protect you from the sun, although today we shouldn’t need it much. The weather is cloudy and the sea is not very calm. But our skipper confirms that there are whales at sea out there, relief!
From June to September, it is the whales’ season in Reunion. This year, they arrived a little late, but for the past few weeks, it’s been a festival. Hardly a day goes by without seeing one (if you take the time to go to the seafront of course). They have already counted nearly 300 in a few weeks compared to fewer over an entire season in recent years.
All this to tell you, that as soon as we left the port, we came across our first whales’ group. 3 rather calm whales swimming nearby. Besides, you will learn it, but there is a dolphin and whale approach charter, which is important to respect if we want to disturb at least these cetaceans, especially given the number of boat trips that there are per day at the moment.
Mum and Baby Whale
We also see a whale and her calf. Our captain explains us that whales come to Reunion for 3 main reasons:
- because the water is shallow and warm,
- to give birth and of course,
- to mate.
Indeed, males would be more efficient when the water temperature is pleasant. And as for the calves (500kg and already 3 or 4 meters), they don’t know still swimming well. Not yet having a lot of strength, the pleasant temperature allows them not to spend too many calories (yes, you burn calories in cold water).
The whales therefore stay in Reunion the time to teach their babies to breathe, swim, jump, socialize and above all to breastfeed them in peace to gain strength before leaving for colder waters. Once adult, the most beautiful specimens can reach 15 meters and just… 30 tons.
Males, not so nice
We then leave this small group alone to head further north. Arriving towards Boucan, we see several breaths offshore. 3, 4, 5, 6… a real locomotive of whales… males. They are speedy but give us a real show. Between the “locomotive” effect when they take turns blowing, the jumps, the fin strokes… it’s impressive.
The sea is very rough, it’s very complicated to take photos that are not blurry, but we enjoy a real magical moment. Even if we learn that the males have no family activity, that they just come to sow the little seed and leave among themselves. They are even capable of hitting or even killing a calf to grab the mother’s attention. Nice nice family life among the bigest cetaceans of the animal kingdom.
Fast fast the Splash
And yes, what’s nice aboard the Splash is that we’re in a small boat, fast, easy to maneuver, so responsive if we have to move to go whale watching behind us…
After this American-style show, we change our destination again because there should not be too many (boats) around a group of whales. We go back towards the South where we will still observe 1 or 2 groups of whales, but not very active. But hopefully, we already had a really great show earlier.
It’s time to get back on earth… it always goes by too fast. If you have never done it before, we advise you to take advantage of the whale season to go on a boat trip. You will see them often from the coast, but it’s really another way to admire them up close.
Practical Info Whales in Reunion Island:
This “Dolphins and Whales boat trip in Reunion Island” activity starts in Saint-Gilles’ harbour, close to the Reunion Island aquarium.
- The trip on the Splash boat lasts 1 hour followed by lunch.
- The packs on larger boats like the catamaran last 2 hours and are also followed by lunch in Saint-Gilles.
- The price is €42 per adult and €27 for children (4 to 10 years old) for the whales boat trip on board the Splash + lunch.
To reserve your activity and see the other packs, head to the West Tourist Office website (in french)!
Remember to take water, swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and sunglasses.
And to find all our activities in Réunion, it’s here !