Curiosities of the Humpback Whales
Humpback whales on Cairns reefs !
One of the most beautiful and graceful mammals in this world lives in the water that surround our lands.
People have been curious of the great beast for centuries.
Their size can be intimidating as well.
This mammal is a Humpback Whale that can reach 39 to 52 feet in length and weight in the neighbourhood of 79,000 pound.
They are the baleen whales.
You can tell a humpback whale from distinctive features and body shape.
Their knobby head which are called tubercles that is actually hair follicles and extra-long pectoral fins is their own design that nature gave them.
Humpback whales are a species that come from the Antarctic waters and migrating to warmer waters to breed, then calve and raise their young to an age and strength where they can make the long journey back to the Antarctic.
One of their nurseries is in the warmer waters off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
They will make this 16,000 miles journey between the months of May and September.
During this time they will fast and live off the fat of their bodies that has been stored in the fat reserves while in the Antarctic.
They eat the whole summer there with a diet of mostly fish and krill.
One major curiosities of the Humpback whale is they have many diverse ways of feeding, one of which is the bubble net feeding technique.
This technique is unique to the humpback; a number of whales will circle a school of fish and drive them to a circle.
This circle can reach up to 98 feet.
The whales will blow bubbles which keep the prey trapped and swim making the circle smaller and smaller herding the fish until they are enclosed in this bubble net.
A few whales will break off and swim deeper, vocalizing which herd more fish up to the bubble net.
When the prey are in place the whales will then swim upward with their mouths agape scooping thousands of fish in one gulp.
The water is then drained through plated grooves in the mouth leaving the fish for them to swallow.
The songs of the humpback whale are legendary.
Both the male and female sing songs but the male is the one that sings the complex song that are long and loud.
At times they will sing up to 24 hours but typically the song will last 10 to 20 minutes. The whale has no vocal cords; these songs are generated by forcing air through the massive nasal cavities.
The same whale song will be sung by large groups of humpbacks in the same ocean but will differ between oceans.
Slowly these herd songs will change over years and never be the same.
There are a number of theories why these songs are sung, to attract females, to males of other herds which often result in conflicts.
Some believe the songs may serve an echolocation function.
There are totally different vocalizations during the forming of the bubble net and feeding.
Other social sounds made by the humpback whales are grunts, groans, snorts and barks.
The curious beauty of the humpback whales you need to experience by watching these massive animals show off their grace and strength at the same time should not be missed.
Whale watching on the Cairns, Great Barrier Reef is enhanced with tours that can be easily booked.
There are day trips and liveaboards which certainly increase your chances to get up close and personal with a humpback whale that can be taken to watch these magnificent animals.
The whale watching season is during the months of July to September making the experience so enjoyable that it should not be missed.
Booking a boat trip to whale watch is easily done and not to be left out from your vacation plans.