Whale watching in Nosara
With perfect temperatures, practically limitless food supplies, and situated between the gulf streams of the northern and southern hemispheres, it’s little wonder that Costa Ricas Pacific coast is so abundantly rich in marine life. Dolphins, turtles, rays and more are just a fraction of some of the more spectacular sea creatures that grace the shores in and around Nosara. However, arguably the most impressive of these creatures is the humpback whale.
Half a century after being relentlessly hunted to the brink of extinction, humpback whales have partially recovered to an estimated 80,000 animals worldwide. And, as the year draws on, and temperatures in their summer home of coastal California begin to drop, humpback whales do what many North Americans do, and head South towards the warmer climes to feed, mate, and give birth.
Costa Rica waters boast more months per year playing host to humpbacks than any other country in the world. Furthermore, at no time and place on the planet are you more likely to see one of these magnificent mammals, easily identified by their stocky body, obvious hump, black dorsal coloring and elongated pectoral fins, than July through November off Costa Ricas west coast.
These huge marine mammals range from 15-20m in length (with one female recorded at 27m), weigh in anywhere between 25 and 40 metric tonnes, have tail fins a third the length of their body, and love nothing more than using their almighty physical power to shoot their colossal frames over the ocean surface before ascending with a thundering splash, otherwise known as breaching.
Given their size, and their propensity for hanging out on, and even over the ocean surface, one may assume that human sightings, particularly in the waters off Costa Rica are an everyday occurrence. But this is not true. Despite that humpbacks remain a huge draw for whale watching tourists hoping to see them perform acrobatics in their natural environment, sometimes they simply don’t show up, instead preferring to avoid the limelight by remaining in the shallow inshore depths of the Pacific coast.
Thus, it comes as little surprise that when drone video footage of not one, but two humpback whales appears, the Costa Rican national news stations take note. And, in late August, that is exactly what happened.
While at home enjoying the ocean view over lunch, local resident Mael Victory noticed some commotion on the ocean surface. He realized that the large splashes taking place between the shore and the horizon demanded further investigation. He quickly unpacked his drone, readied it for flight, and launched it from the terrace of his home on a reconnaissance mission. A 2 kilometer flight, along with a few minutes of ocean scanning later, the crystal clear footage confirmed exactly what Mael had suspected – that the ocean turbulence was due to a humpback mother, and her infant calf, pleasantly meandering near the ocean surface.
A short time later, the drone footage had caught the attention of Teletica Canal 7 TV producers and was aired across the nation. Only one week after that, the nosara.com facebook page on which it was first aired had racked up nearly 60,000 viewings, and thousands of reactions comments and shares.