We had barely left the mooring on Tuesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise before we saw 3 breaches way far away to our north. But we didn’t have to travel that far before we saw lots of other Humpbacks. At one point, while we were stopped with our hydrophone deployed (listening to some very loud singing, by the way), a whale who we had watched sound decided to cruise right up our port hull and spout about 10 yards off our bow. Later in the cruise while we were stopped again, a different whale surfaced about 20 yards ahead of us and did sort of a half-peduncle throw. The back half of his body never really left the water, but we could tell he was communicating something to someone! Throughout this cruise we saw more than 15 different whales.
We began our Signature Whale Watch Cruise watching a Mom/Calf/Escort pod resting on the surface off our starboard side. Meanwhile, a pod of Spinner Dolphins was heading towards our bow, and if that wasn’t exciting enough…another mature Humpback surfaced off our port side. After watching all of this for awhile we headed up the coast, escorted by the dolphins. They were playing around in our bow wake and as we looked down, we could see a remora attached to one of them, and another with a very recent cookie-cutter shark bite. Later in the cruise we saw several more spouts and flukes from other mature whales, and as the wind picked up, lots of breaching out in the distance.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales (and, in fact, all Baleen Whales) demonstrate something called “reverse sexual size dimorphism”. This means that an adult female Humpback is larger than an adult male (by about 5%). Though researchers are not sure of the exact reason for the difference in size, they theorize that the increased size allows the female to store more reserves to feed and care for her calf, and also to give birth to a bigger calf who might have a better chance of survival than a smaller one. Average length for a fully grown female Humpback is around 45-50 feet. At her heaviest, she weighs 35 – 40 tons