Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise began with a sighting of a single spout. While we were waiting for our solo Humpback to reappear, we spotted a pair of spouts, so we headed over to check out this duo of Humpbacks. We paralleled them for awhile, watching them surface every 7 minutes, until we saw a bit of a commotion closer to shore. The commotion turned out to be from Mom, her calf, and 3 males who were showing quite a bit of interest in Mom. While we watched, all 5 surfaced and spouted simultaneously (which is pretty rare and really incredible to see). This competitive pod of 5 must have caught the attention of our duo from before, because the next thing we knew all 7 of them were involved in the chase. We kind of felt bad for Momma and her baby, who were definitely being pursued by the other 5 whales as they all charged down the coast. But we got to see lots of head lunges and jaw claps (as the males battled for dominance) and even a few tail lobs. Eventually, we had to turn back to the bay and just when we reached the entrance, we stopped and deployed our hydrophone. The sounds we heard were loud and clear, so once again, we knew there were a lot more Humpbacks we weren’t seeing in our vicinity who were hanging out underwater.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Those lines we see under the Humpback’s mouth are actually pleats that allow for the expansion of her mouth when she feeds. This expansion, combined with her ability to flex her jaws, allows her to hold up to 5,000 gallons of sea water in her mouth at one time — that’s the equivalent of almost 54,000 cans of Diet Pepsi (or Budweiser) in every gulp — of course, she doesn’t swallow the water she gulps…just the unlucky fish that had been swimming in it.