If you’ve ever dreamed of getting up-close and personal with whales, now is your chance! Here in Sydney, we observe the annual migration of humpback whales from May through until November.
Inside the wonderful world of whales
It’s no secret that Fantasea Cruising loves whales! All whales, though we’re sure you will notice that we tend to talk a lot about humpback whales. This is not only because they are the most commonly seen whale on out ‘premium’ whale watching experiences but because we think they are absolutely captivating!
Humpback’s are baleen whales
Baleen whales are identifiable by the two blowholes visible on the top of their heads.
What does ‘baleen’ mean anyway?
Unlike their toothed counterparts, humpbacks have ‘baleen’ plates that hang from the roof of their mouth. The humpback’s mouth is expandable with a flexible lower jaw to allow for their gulping feeding style. Food such as fish, plankton and krill are caught in hairs on the baleen whilst the saltwater is strained through back into the ocean.
Why do they migrate? In short, humpback whales migrate to feed and breed! The extremely cold waters which are plentiful for krill, a humpbacks favourite food is way too cold for newborns. For this reason, humpback whales travel great distances from cold feeding waters to warm shallow water for mating in calving. Giving us the perfect opportunity the gaze at the glory of these majestic mammals of the sea!
Humpback whale fun facts
- Whales cannot drink saltwater
- They can weigh up to 40 tonnes
- They can migrate over 10,000km annually
- Despite being so heavy, humpback whales can breech their full body above the water
- Humpback whales are baleen whales, meaning they do not possess any teeth
- Calves are born around 3.75–4.5m long
- They eat up to 1.5 tonnes of food a day
- Humpback whales can live for at least 45 years, but complete lifespan is still unknown
- They sing for anything between 15 minutes and 24 hours
- Females are the larger sex. They grow up to 13–16m, with males growing up to 12–15m
19 September 2018
“We were mugged a playful and curious sub-adult humpback for most of the trip today. Captain Tim managed to capture a few amazing of the sub-adult is playing with some crayweed on its rostrum!” (@fantaseawhales)
These gentle giants of the sea exhibit a diverse display of behaviours that are equally as entertaining as they are fascinating. Whilst there are many theories surrounding the nature of these behaviours, the truth is we still don’t have a clear understanding as to why they do what they do!
Whales exhale air explosively which forms a stream of misty air and vapour reaching 3–5m in height
They poke their heads out of the water like this to take a good look at what’s going on around them
A competitive display in which the humpback whale lunges forward with its head raised above the water
An energetic display where the whale throws its tail out of the water and in the process slaps its peduncle on the surface
A humpback raises its tail flukes out of the water and slaps them forcefully on the surface of the water
The whales have plenty of energy to leap up and thump their flippers and flukes up to 30 times in just five minutes
They lift their tails up before diving to help propel themselves deeper into the water column
Powered by only 2–3 thumps of its tail, the humpback whale launches itself out of the water and falls backwards with a slap