Friday, March 15, 2013

Creature Feature: Humpback Whales

Not very exciting picture, but this is the knuckle one of the whales left in the water beside Mr Mac. Note that I'm looking down, not out into the distance. These whales were close!
Humpback calf checking us out (that's our outboard engine on the right)
Highlighting humpback whales this week is apropos because we nearly ran into a couple when we were en route from the BVIs to St. Martin (the whales were going in the opposite direction). I’m exaggerating, but not by much, because these whales surfaced RIGHT next to the boat, not thirty feet away. Rather startling, quite exhilarating! It happened so quick, all I was able to get was a shot of the knuckle one of the whales left in the water when it dove. Anyway, humpback whales (and all whales) are marine mammals, not fish. Humpbacks are particularly easy to identify (as a species) by their large white pectoral fins, which you can usually see underwater even if only their back and dorsal fin emerges. The same day as our close encounter, Chris saw in the distance another humpback breach, or jump clear out of the water, falling back in a tremendous spray. Anne has seen them do that while out on whale-watching trips off of Boston, but unfortunately missed this one. Humpbacks summer in food-rich northern waters, and winter in warmer southern waters, where they give birth to their calfs. This species is well-known for the intricate songs that they sing, which can be heard for miles. Check out the whale songs we heard in St. Lucia when we were snorkeling (Access the video/audio at Humpbacks don’t seem to be particularly shy, as we’ve had some approach the boat quite closely (to Chris’ consternation). It’s always a treat to see these magnificent animals swimming by, though I don't get the best pictures because I'm so excited.
Humpback mother and calf off of Guadaloupe

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! We've only seen one and that one was near your old stomping ground of Scituate, Anne. We were both so startled (it was also really close) that we just stood there and gawked. Never got the camera in time, so you're doing better than we did! Nice pics.