Breaching Humpbacks in Antarctica
I can’t believe I didn’t post this ages ago. My last trip of the Antarctic season as EL, back in late February, we set out for a morning of whale watching. It’s always a risk deciding to ‘go whale-watching’ as you never know if they will turn up. This time it paid off because this Humpback appeared just 30 minutes after weighing anchor. It breached countless times, sometimes coming quite close to us. At first the breaches were less than a minute apart, but as he or she tired out they got further and further apart and it ran out of energy and spent most of its time logging.
Why do whales breach? We’re not sure, and it’s possible that the question ’why?’ when applied to animals may be meaningless anyway. What does it achieve? Again we are not sure – perhaps communication, stunning prey, showing off, shedding parasites, driving away competitors and/or predators or just having fun. I like to think it’s the latter; it certainly looks joyful.
Later we were treated to surface-feeding groups of Humpbacks. Between these whales and two pods of Orca, one with a breaching baby, it was a pretty successful day of whale watching.