Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are among the many most lovely and pleasant whales on our planet. There are lots of locations to come across these mild giants, and the chance to swim with them is sort of widespread.
Their scientific identify, “Megaptera“, refers to their giant pectoral fins, that are in reality the most important limbs of any creature in nature. They have been first given the second a part of their identify in New England. Probably the most spectacular options of humpback whales is that they “sing” underwater, emitting sounds which might be thought to function communication with different people. It’s now understood that by making these noises, the whales are looking for a mate for copy or mark their territory.
Humpback whales are migratory animals. In the course of the polar summer time, they feed on plankton and small fish, however when the temperatures start to lower, they transfer to tropical seas to mate and breed.
Humpback whales are the one baleen whales that bounce utterly out of the water (breaching). Additionally they present a repertoire of no less than 15 totally different floor behaviors, giving them the title of probably the most acrobatic whale.
THE BEST PLACES FOR WHALE WATCHING
The next are the world’s greatest locations to observe humpback whales of their pure habitat.
SAGUENAY – ST. LAWRENCE MARINE PARK, QUÉBEC
This marine park was created to guard and help the greater than 1,600 marine species dwelling there, together with a resident inhabitants of beluga whales. There are 13 species of whales that go to the Marine Park as a way to feed and construct their power reserves for the lengthy migrations forward. Excursions might be made utilizing huge vessels, small rubber boats and even kayaks. As all the time, it’s necessary to take care of the required distance (650 ft [200 meters] from humpback whales) so as to keep away from disturbing them.
Greatest Time: June to September
REYKJAVÍK AND HÚSAVÍK, ICELAND
Whale watching excursions begin day-after-day (climate allowing) at 9:00, 13:00 and 17:00. The excursions take roughly Three to three.5 hours. Throughout this time operators search for quite a lot of whales, from minke and humpback whales to white-beaked dolphins, orcas and harbor porpoises. Excursions run all yr spherical, however the excessive season is between Might and August.
Greatest Time: Might to August
BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO
The Sea of Cortez is among the most lovely seas on the planet. In reality, it’s often known as the aquarium of Mexico due to the massive biodiversity discovered inside its confines. Between December and April, whales collect right here to offer delivery and breed. Native guides will accompany you on small boats, however you solely have to journey a couple of hundred meters from the coast to be joined by many whales. This creates an unforgettable, half-day whale tour.
Greatest Time: January to March
BAHIA DE BANDERAS, MEXICO
The third largest bay in Mexico, Bahia de Banderas is surrounded by lovely mountains referred to as the Sierra Madre del Sur. It supplies the right habitat for various marine mammals, and humpback whales use these tropical waters from December to April to mate and breed. Whales may be seen breaching from shore, however to have the perfect expertise, simply hop on a small boat with a marine biologist on board. You’ll be capable of get so much nearer to the whales, an expertise you’ll always remember.
Greatest Time: January to March
PACIFIC COAST, COLOMBIA
The Pacific coast of Colombia is a perfect place to identify humpback whales, as a result of each the southern and northern inhabitants go to these tropical waters the place they provide start and breed. Whales could be seen proper from the seashore or native guides will deliver you nearer utilizing small boats. We advise in search of them in Nuquí, Bahia Malaga, Buenaventura, Tumaco and Gorgona Nationwide Pure Park.
Greatest Time: June to October
HERMANUS, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
Though there's not a greatest time for whale watching, excursions begin right here within the morning and final two hours on common. In South Africa, boats are allowed to strategy the whales as much as 165 ft (50 meters). Then the cetacean can determine to get near the boat or disappear into the deep sea. An area professional information will clarify the varied behaviors displayed by the whales to be able to provide help to recognize each motion of those marine giants.
Greatest Time: August to November
KAIKOURA, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Kaikoura is a city on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, an interesting land the place the mountains meet the ocean. Excursions final about Three hours and use trendy catamarans outfitted with engines that reduce underwater noise. The most typical species discovered close to Kaikoura is the sperm whale in addition to teams of dolphins, however humpback whales could be seen throughout their migration.
Greatest Time: June to July
DISKO BAY, GREENLAND
The chilly waters of Greenland are house to 15 species of whales, together with narwhals, beluga and bowhead whales. You'll be able to spot these through the winter, however in the summertime, humpback whales, minke whales and fin whales are mostly seen. Whale watching journeys usually final 4 hours, and the captains of the boats are all the time in contact with native fishermen who assist them to seek out the whales.
Greatest Time: June to August
Humpback whales begin to arrive in these crystal clear waters in December, however peak numbers happen in mid-January. You'll be able to see them proper from the seashore, a number of miles away, however in fact we advocate collaborating in an tour with specialists. Within the span of a few hours, you’ll have the ability to strategy these whales as shut as 100 yards (90 meters) legally. Most popular excursions depart within the morning, as a result of right now, it's much less windy. In Maui, it’s potential to go whale watching by boat, kayak, outrigger canoe or stand-up paddleboard.
Greatest Time: Mid-January to Early April
MARINO BALLENA NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA
Humpback whales are seen in two seasons: whales from the Northern Hemisphere are seen from December to March whereas these from the Southern Hemisphere are seen from early July to late October. Excursions within the space take Four hours. It’s additionally really helpful to go to the Marino Ballena Nationwide Park, Isla Ballena (Whale Island), Las Rocas Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters Rocks), Cavernas Ventanas (Home windows Caves) and the Tómbolo of Punta Uvita, supplying you with the chance to see dolphins and a seabird sanctuary.
Greatest Time: August to October
GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA
Excursions from Glacier Bay are organized twice a day, within the morning and early afternoon. They final about Three-Four hours. Humpback whales arrive from the warmer waters of Hawaii, the place they spent a number of months with out consuming. Nevertheless, Alaska’s chilly waters are wealthy in meals, and these whales spend their time right here accumulating fats for his or her subsequent migration.
Greatest Time: June to Early September
HERVEY BAY, AUSTRALIA
Humpback whales cease yearly in these Australian waters, as a result of Hervey Bay is alongside their migration path to Antarctica. Right here they will develop their younger within the absence of predators. There are lots of boats providing whale watching excursions, which final a mean of 4 hours. As a particular deal with, the vessels are sometimes outfitted with a hydrophone for listening to the songs of whales.
Greatest Time: Mid-July to October
WILHELMINA BAY, ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Wilhelmina Bay is 15 miles (24 kilometers) lengthy. Its very chilly waters are wealthy in krill, the microscopic crustacean extremely appreciated by the whales, who come right here a number of months annually to build up fats. Whale watching excursions make the most of rubber boats. It’s attainable to identify humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales, leopard seals and different marine animals.
Greatest Time: Mid-February to March
THE BEST PLACES FOR SWIMMING WITH HUMPBACK WHALES
The next are one of the best locations to swim with humpback whales.
The humpback whale tour consists of 6 days on this marvelous Polynesian island. Daily begins within the morning round 9 am, on the lookout for humpback whales of their breeding and nursery areas. A naturalist will assess whether or not you possibly can swim with these superb cetaceans, and to keep away from disturbing them, there might be a most of Four visitors plus an area information within the water at a time. The boats return to Tonga within the early afternoon.
Greatest Time: Finish of August to Early October
SILVER BANK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Silver Financial institution is a submerged financial institution within the Atlantic Ocean which attracts a really giant variety of humpback whales. It's estimated that between 5,00zero and seven,00zero whales go to the world to provide start and breed. The one option to benefit from the place and these cetaceans is to spend every week on a liveaboard vessel and to make use of small rubber boats to get near the whales. Silver Financial institution is among the few locations on the earth the place it's potential to snorkel with these whales. Will probably be an unforgettable expertise.
Greatest Time: January to April
Humpback whales migrate to those waters to provide start and reproduce then return to Antarctica. Along with observing them from the boat, you're allowed to swim with the whales the place you possibly can take superb photographs and movies. The code of conduct states that the utmost variety of vacationers that may enter the water at one time is Four as a way to keep away from disturbing the whales. Moreover, the tour have to be guided by specialists.
Greatest Time: Mid-August to Mid-September
THE BEST PLACES FOR SCUBA DIVING WITH WHALES
Diving is usually not allowed with whales because the bubbles produced may be interpreted by these cetaceans as an indication of aggression or hazard. They will emit bubbles as nicely from their blowhole. This regulation additionally serves to restrict the disturbance of the whales of their nursing areas.
CODE OF CONDUCT
We all the time advocate following the code of conduct whereas having fun with humpback whale encounters. It’s one of the simplest ways to respect these mild giants. We propose verifying the corporate that gives the whale excursions is registered and has a allow to take action. It’s greatest to make use of eco-friendly corporations. It will insure you've the absolute best expertise figuring out that the whales and surroundings are revered.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT HUMPBACK WHALES
Curious to study extra about humpback whales? Listed here are the solutions to probably the most generally requested questions on these mild giants.
HOW BIG IS A HUMPBACK WHALE?
Humpback whales have a variable physique size between 48 and 62.5 ft (14.6 and 19 meters).
HOW MUCH DO HUMPBACK WHALES WEIGH?
They will attain a most weight of 40 tons (36,000kg). The females are often heavier than the males.
HOW LONG IS THE GESTATION PERIOD OF HUMPBACK WHALES?
It lasts between 10 and 12 months.
HOW MUCH DOES A BABY HUMPBACK WHALE WEIGH AT BIRTH?
At start, calves are between 10 and 15 ft (Three and Four.5 meters) lengthy and weigh about 1.5 tons (1,360kg). That is one third of the size of the mom’s physique or the identical size as certainly one of her flippers.
HOW LONG DO HUMPBACK WHALES LIVE?
Their lifespan is round 50 to 80 years.
WHAT DO HUMPBACK WHALES EAT?
These whales can eat as much as 2 tons (1800kg) of plankton and small fish (like herring) per day.
HOW OFTEN DO HUMPBACK WHALES NEED TO EAT?
Usually whales feed in abundance within the chilly waters close to the poles. Their feeding technique could be very spectacular, referred to as “internet effervescent.” Utilizing this system, totally different whales create a bubble internet to entrap fish inside after which provide you with their mouths large open. Throughout winter, once they attain heat tropical waters for the mating interval, humpback whales usually don't feed. They survive because of the fats collected throughout their keep in chilly waters.
HOW MANY HUMPBACK WHALES ARE LEFT IN THE WORLD TODAY?
Truly, there are greater than 60,00zero humpback whales presently dwelling in our oceans.
ARE HUMPBACK WHALES AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?
No, their standing is “LC” (Least Concern), and their inhabitants is growing.
HOW FAST CAN HUMPBACK WHALES SWIM?
Often humpback whales swim Three to 9 miles per hour (Four.eight to 14 kilometers per hour), but when hazard is current, they will swim as much as 16.5 miles per hour (26.5 kilometers per hour).
WHAT SOUNDS DO HUMPBACK WHALES PRODUCE?
Listen to the humpback whale song here. Solely males sing; nevertheless females also can talk by sound. For instance, communication between a mom and her calf could be very robust. They will acknowledge one another by sound.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND HUMPBACK WHALES?
Humpback whales inhabit all of the oceans. Check out their distribution on the Home Range Map.
This text was written by Mario Passoni, a marine biologist concerned in a number of tasks regarding ocean conservation and schooling. Particular because of Wayne Sentman from the Oceanic Society and Thalia Martinez.