Ethical Whale Watching at Sea Level
ROW Sea Kayak Adventures raised the standard of commercial sea kayak operation by joining Planet Whale's2013 Responsible Whale Watching Partnership. ROW Sea Kayak Adventures is the first and only kayak outfitter to gain membership to the Responsible Whale Watching Partnership, which is a coalition of 20 companies that works towards best practice and sustainability in whale and dolphin watching tourism. The Partnership aims to raise the standards of whale watching worldwide, as marine mammal viewing regulations are often unenforced.
The desire to improve the marine mammal viewing industry is consistent with the sustainability efforts of ROW Sea Kayak Adventures. Whales and dolphin viewing remains a specialty of the company, which began 20 years ago in the gray whale calving lagoons of Baja's Pacific coast. Though ROW Sea Kayak Adventures now operates tours worldwide in six countries, the dedication to respectful whale watching is an ever-present component of all trips.
"Kayaks allow people to interact with whales in an personal way, while sharing the same waters. It's a completely different experience to see them at sea level, which is eye level for a whale or dolphin looking back at you. It's more intimate than a motorized boat. Because kayaks are minimally-invasive with no carbon footprint or engine noise to disturb the animals, it's a thrill any nature-lover can thoroughly appreciate," explains company owner, Peter Grubb.
Though most of the destinations in which Sea Kayak Adventures offers trips have marine mammals present, the whale-focused tours include:
British Columbia, Canada - kayaking with orcas and humpback whales in Vancouver Island's inside passage
Patagonia, Argentina – kayaking with southern right whales in Peninsula Valdes
Quebec, Canada – kayaking with beluga whales in Saguenay Fjord
Baja, Mexico – kayaking the Sea of Cortez, or a safari-style base camp among gray whales and calves
Despite the varied nature of the destinations and itineraries, ROW Sea Kayak Adventures' commitment to responsible whale watching remains steadfast. "We're raising the bar and rethinking the possibilities of whale watching," adds Grubb. "We want to share once-in-a-lifetime whale moments with people, and inspire a vested interest in the preservation of all oceanic wonders. By joining the Responsible Whale Watching Partnership, we look forward to adding our voice to the ethical development of the industry and fostering this passion among generations of future guests."