Our first Whale Watch of 2022 left the bay at 9:30 on January 1st under very light winds and on glassy seas. Calm conditions allow us to see a long way, and we quickly noticed several spouts from whales more than 400 yards away from us. We spent the first part of our trip watching and waiting for the Humpbacks…and all the whales we saw were as calm as the ocean.
When we deployed our hydrophone, we got to listen to a few whales’ voices…but because of the volume, we knew they must have been pretty far away.
And of course, just when we thought the whole trip would be quiet, we came across a group of 4 Humpbacks who were involved in a bit of competition. We got to see a huge pectoral slap (that’s when the whale slaps his “arm” against the water) — followed by a head lunge — both could be interpreted as aggressive behaviors based on how close the whales were to each other. We also saw a lot of twisting and turning as these whales dove and surfaced. We’re really not very violent people, but it always takes our breaths away to get the opportunity to witness a “whale fight”.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Why do we love to see a Humpback wave his pectoral flipper in the air before slapping it on the surface of the water? Well, that pectoral flipper is one of the most distinguishing morphological (body) characteristics of the genus. Humpbacks have extremely long pectoral flippers averaging 1/3rd the length of their bodies (approx. 15 feet). The flipper is such a distinguishing feature that the genus name for the Humpback (Megaptera) actually describes it – the translation from Latin for Megaptera is “Big – Winged”.