Learning the Language of the Whales

Learning the Language of the Whales is a lifelong journey for a Humpback calf and today we observed the first baby steps as a newborn practiced breaching alongside mum. It was a cooler breeze that ruffled the oceans surface this morning but it made for perfect conditions to make some noise as a mother Humpback Whale launched into big breaching as her calf followed. Inspired by mum the little one would launch skywards and attempt a breach but it resulted in spectacular head and body lunges instead. Humpback calves are very heavy even at only one to two weeks of age and their greatest challenge is to attempt controlling that weight once airborne. The momentum part is relatively easy as the tiny fluke moves quickly and the calf is now airborne but then gravity takes over and all of that momentum comes crashing down.

It was wonderful to watch as the little one launched over and over as mother whale continued to encourage her calf and show the perfect form of a breach which this little one will master in the months to come. At this age group the energy of very young calves is limited and after the big surface display mother whale settled her calf down. Heart rate decreased and swimming calmly it was now time to revert back to resting and milk time for the hard working and very cute calf. Wishing them well we moved out and towards our second pod for the morning as we joined with a lone adult. A few powerful tail lobs erupted as pods further away moved past and our lone whale settled into migration mode. Swimming alongside us peacefully it was a very nice way to complete our morning as a couple of the local Bottlenose Dolphins raced over to greet us and our Humpback Whale friend. Learning the Language of the Whales takes time and for all of this years new-born calves they will take on the challenge with gusto as we observed this morning.

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