The Whale Watcher's Handbook


208 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-14-007064-8





Illustrations by Pieter Folkens
Reviewed by Donavon L. Porter

Donavon L. Porter is a public-school teacher in Haileybury, Ontario.


Erich Hoyt has produced a valuable guidebook which may prove indispensable to the novice and seasoned whale-watcher alike. For those unfamiliar with the special experience of whale-watching, this book is a thorough and precise introduction to a fascinating pastime.

The book is divided into three major sections. The first gives an overview of man’s interaction with the great cetaceans. A brief history of whaling, the slow development of whale-watching as a scientific endeavour, and finally the development of whale-watching as a leisure activity are covered.

The second section is devoted to an extensive scientific overview of the perhaps surprisingly diverse numbers of species. Here, photographs and line drawings are used together with precise descriptions, which include information on distinguishing features, habits, range, and other pertinent information to enable the whale-watcher to identify those species that he or she may encounter. Sadly, the listed status of many species is “unknown,” “rare,” or “endangered.”

The final section provides a global perspective on known whale-watching locations. The author provides precise information for locating these spots, as well as best viewing months, organized whale-watching tours, oceanania, museums of interest, and rules and regulations affecting the observance of whales for the different countries.

Overall, this is a fascinating guidebook. It should have a positive impact both on whale-watching as a pastime and on interest in preserving these great creatures for the future.


Hoyt, Erich, “The Whale Watcher's Handbook,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 24, 2024,