We ran just one Whale Watch Cruise on Monday — our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. It was a fun trip, because not only did we see a LOT of different whales (at least 10), some in pairs, and some by themselves, but we got to spend time with our favorite pod – Mom and Baby. Baby was really small, and different parts of his body kept appearing at the surface. Sometimes we’d see his peduncle (what we’d call a “whale butt” if we weren’t trying to sound so technical), and other times we’d see his little head. Since he didn’t seem to be all that coordinated, and since those various body parts aren’t what we normally see when a whale first surfaces, we suspect that Mom was right underneath him, helping to lift him to the surface. In between our frequent sightings of the calf, a big whale surfaced about 30 feet from where we thought the baby was located…too far to be Mom, so this was probably an Escort (not “Dad” unless it’s a very weird coincidence — see today’s Fact of the Day for more on this). When we deployed our hydrophone we heard some really loud whale voices, so we know there were even more Humpbacks in our vicinity who we weren’t seeing.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: We frequently see Mom and Baby Humpback accompanied by a third whale. We used to think this was a female helping mom take care of her baby, but now that we can identify gender more easily, we know it isn’t. It’s a male. Though a new mom ovulates infrequently, researchers believe that perhaps the male whale is “hoping to make a good impression” so when she is receptive, he may be the first to mate with her. Unless it’s a very strange coincidence, this escort is not the father of the calf as male Humpbacks aren’t involved in raising their own offspring. Since the gestation period for a Humpback is about a year, “Dad” was last year’s love interest.