We operated quite a few cruises over the weekend and had some absolutely spectacular experiences, so here are a few highlights:
- On Saturday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise, we saw a LOT of different Humpbacks including a pod of 3 adults just hanging out together. Our closest encounter was with a Mom/Calf pod (baby approached us within about 40 yards). We watched them being followed (no one was moving fast enough to categorize this as a “chase”) by 2 other adult Humpbacks, but at least during the time that we watched them, the two whales in the back didn’t act aggressively or competitively.
- On our Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we were MUGGED! A solo Humpback found us interesting, and spent more than 30 minutes swimming around, alongside, and under our boat. Check out the video above, and “live the experience” with us! When we could tear our eyes away from our new “buddy” there were lots of other Humpbacks spouting and sounding all around us.
- Our next cruise on Seasmoke was a Private Snorkel and & Whale Watch Cruise. To quote Captain Jason, this cruise “was ridiculous. [We saw] any aerial activity you could think of, and multiple times. 2 whales looked like they were trying to talk slap each other”!
- Highlights from our Sunday Wake Up with the Whales Cruise included watching a pod of Spinner Dolphins approach us and a pair of Humpbacks who we were watching near the shoreline in just 75 feet of water. As the whales began swimming, they created a “bow wake” (pressure wave in front of their heads) and the spinners swam in that and in front of it, staying with the whales for a good half hour. We also got to watch a couple of different Mom/Calf pods. One of these pods had an escort with them, and as we watched, they were joined by two more whales. We figured that it might turn into a big competition, but unfortunately we were already late, and we had to head back to the bay before we could find out for sure.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: For a long time, researchers studying the ever-evolving songs of the Humpbacks have thought that the whales teach each other the new phrases and versions of their song, and that’s why all the Humpbacks in close proximity are singing basically the same song. Well, turns out that might not be correct. Just published research by University of Buffalo’s Dr. Eduardo Mercado, suggests that “neither cultural transmission nor social learning contributes significantly to how humpback whales change their songs over time”. He analyzed songs of Humpbacks who aren’t in acoustic contact with each other, yet still produced acoustically comparable songs. Though he’s not entirely sure how this happens, he suggests that the whales use “rules” to make the changes based on proceeding sounds or rhythms, and that even though the various populations don’t have genetic or social links, they all share the same rules. Dr. Mercado expects his research will provoke a LOT of discussion in the coming months and years!