Humpback whale blog
If you’re reading this, you may already be aware that it’s a policy of mine to celebrate working with a new organisation by adopting a marine animal on their behalf (in the form of a charity donation). Today, I’m sharing why I have chosen humpback whales as one of my chosen species for this adoption programme. Enjoy!
Humpback whale fact file
- Common name: Humpback whale
- Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae (‘big wing of New England’)
- Alternate animal name: I haven’t heard a good one for humpbacks – any suggestions?
- Conservation status: Least concern
- Diet: Omnivore
- Average life span: 80-90 years
- Reaches sexual reproduction: between four and 10 years
- Pregnancy lasts: 11 months
- Size: 12-16m
- Largest recorded individual: 19m
- Weight: around 36 tonnes
- Fun fact: Humpback whales are known for their beautiful songs
Why do you love humpback whales?
When it comes to the manta ray and the humpback whale, it’s a pretty close tie for which is my favourite (please don’t make me choose!).
I’ve not yet been lucky enough to see a humpback while scuba diving, despite a few possible close calls. When you hear whale song close by while you’re underwater, you can feel the booming reverberations shake through you. Particularly when the visibility isn’t great, the whale could be just a couple of hundreds of metres away (or less!) and you’d not be able to see them – very frustrating!
While I haven’t seen a humpback underwater, even watching them from the boat can be quite the spectacle. Tofo, Mozambique, is a very special stretch of coastline. During the winter, the humpbacks are travelling through these waters and you can usually see the mothers and their calves from June to around September.
We could even see them from the MMF office, which was pretty distracting. Out of the corner of your eye, you would just see splash, splash, splash as the whales were breaching. Even from a distance, it’s incredible to see these huge, powerful animals launching themselves from the surface of the water before crashing down again. Sometimes doing it over and over. Sitting with a beer during the evening or weekend and watching the whales play is just incredible.
Once, we even saw them up close from a kayak. The sun had just risen and a friend and I had paddled out for a quick kayak before work. After we’d pushed the kayaks out through the surf, the waters were pretty calm. Suddenly, we saw a whale breach way off in the distance. Then, the spurt from a blowhole as a whale came up for breath less than 100m away. As another whale breached in the distance, I realised how very small we were in our kayak next to these huge animals. Thankfully nothing breached on top of us and we were able to paddle back safely after an amazing show!
Which charity will the humpback whale adoption support?
Humpback whale adoptions will support WWF in its mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.