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Messing Around on the Surface

Humpback underwater

February 28. 2024


The ocean surface looked like glass for a lot of Tuesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise. As a result, we could see Humpbacks from miles away. Over the course of the cruise, we saw at least 2 dozen different Humpbacks but spent most of our time with a Mom/Calf/Escort trio. These whales were just doing their thing…surfacing, spouting a few times and then diving again…until all of a sudden, the calf got a spurt of energy. We got to watch him laying on his back doing double pec slaps and then we got to watch him roll onto his side and do some single pec slaps. I know I’ve said this before, but when we watch an adult Humpback do the same thing, it really looks like the whale is trying hard to communicate something — maybe her location, or maybe her mood (excitement or irritation). But when we were watching that cute calf on his back slapping his little pec flippers on the surface, it sure looked to us like he was just messing around.

Later in the cruise, we watched what we thought was the tail end of a competitive pod approach the boat. Before they got to us, they all dove — but they stayed just under the surface and right under our bow (at that point, we had stopped the boat). Since the surface was completely calm, we all got great views of those whales’ entire bodies as they swam by.



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: We’ve never witnessed a Humpback taking care of two calves. We know she could conceive twins (and whalers occasionally would find twin fetuses) but we doubt she could carry twins to term. And even if she could, we really doubt she could produce the 200 gallons of milk she’d need each day to feed two calves!