Tuesday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise was all about the babies. We got to watch 2 Mom/Calf pods. Conveniently, they were on opposite sides of the boat, so no matter where we were standing, there was something to see. The calves were both about the same size, and since their Moms (who we didn’t get to see nearly as much) were also about the same size, we figured the babies were born around the same time. We loved watching these little guys make a number of uncoordinated-looking (but very cute) dives down towards their Moms.
While we were sitting watching the babies, we took the opportunity to deploy our hydrophone and heard some nice, clear Humpback songs.
Those of us scanning the horizon also got to see a couple of breaches from different Humpbacks about a mile away.
Oh…and on our way back to the bay, we were completely surprised when a lone adult Humpback surfaced, spouted a couple of times, and sounded just 20 yards from us. We’re pretty sure that Humpbacks are intelligent animals (for more on this, see today’s Fact of the Day)…so no doubt he recognized the sounds the boat makes as it passes by, and he just wanted to take a look at us.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Are the Humpbacks we watch so closely each winter watching us too? Researchers have discovered that the brains of many cetaceans, including Humpbacks, contain 3 times as many spindle neurons as are found in humans. What do these neurons do? In humans spindle neurons have been observed to be active when the subject is experiencing strong emotions and social awareness…so it’s quite possible that the whales who approach our boats are doing so with intent. Maybe just as we spend our days trying to interpret the reasons behind the whales’ behaviors, the Humpbacks are spending their days trying to figure out why we’re so interested in them!