Kicking Back with the Humpbacks
Wednesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise was quite relaxing — for us and for the Humpbacks. During the course of the cruise we got to see 4 different Humpbacks. Each was doing his or her own thing by him or herself. We got great views of each of these whales as they surfaced and spouted a few times before disappearing below the surface again. Though we do our best to maintain a 100 yard distance from where we last saw a Humpback on the surface, the whales tend to swim around when they’re underwater, and not always in a predictable direction. A couple times during our morning of waiting and watching, one of our Humpbacks chose to surface just about 50 yards from our idling boat, surprising us all. When Humpbacks surface that close to us, their forceful exhalations are very easy to hear — and often we even can hear that “whooshing” sound they make when they inhale. Since none of our whales seemed to be heading to any particular destination in any particular hurry, we got to kick back and relax while sharing the ocean with them. And since we weren’t heading to any particular destination either, we got great opportunities to lower our hydrophone. Each time we deployed it, the sounds we heard through our speakers were loud, clear and very diverse.
P.S. Over the next several days, we have a whole bunch of private charters scheduled so I’ll post again when I can!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Since Doctors Katy and Roger Payne and their associates first analyzed their recordings of the Humpback song in 1967, we’ve learned that not only does every singer in a population sing basically the same song, but that the song continually evolves. The Humpback song is very organized, and consists of notes, phrases, and themes (except for the Arabian Humpbacks who don’t include the themes). No one knows the true purpose for the song, but since every population of Humpbacks sings their own song, and since they mainly sing during mating season, the song may play a role in social organization.