Though we got a chance to see spouts and flukes from at least 10 different adult Humpbacks during Thursday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we were absolutely delighted on two different occasions when single Humpbacks surfaced just 25 yards from our idling boat. If you’ve ever experienced the unexpected sound of a Humpback spouting nearby, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! We also saw a few breaches from about 300 yards away, and a couple of pec slaps from other whales in the area — lots of Humpback communication going on in the neighborhood!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback whale communication signals comprise two different types: vocal signals, and surface-generated signals such as ‘breaching’ or ‘pectoral slapping’. Back in 2010, researchers reported that humpback whales gradually switched from primarily vocal to primarily surface-generated communication in increasing wind speeds and background noise levels. Why? Surface-generated sounds have energy distributed over a greater frequency range and may be less likely to become confused in periods of high wind-generated noise. Therefore, it may be easier for the whales to communicate to each other by splashing when it’s windy.