By this point in our trip we had seen three types of penguins, three types of seals, and more birds than we can count. But so far no whales. We had only been casually looking for the whales but now, on day 9 of our trip, we were starting to feel the loss and so it was time to get serious about looking. There are eight types of whales to be spotted in Antarctica: Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minke, Orca, Southern Right, Sei and Sperm, however we were only likely to see three of those types because of season, location and habits. So our eyes were peeled for Humpback, Minke and Orca whales. While we did eventually see Minke whales at a distance, they are fast and were gone before we could say "hey look", so no photos of those. Oddly, the most likely whale for us to see, the Orca, we never did see. However in the true fashion of this trip once our guides warned us that we would likely not see any Humpback whales, that is exactly the kind of whale that turned up.
I (Rachel) had only so far spent about 20 minutes on the bridge looking for whales, but was planning to go up and take a shift after lunch. That did not come to be as just as we were finishing lunch we were called to the bridge as whales were spotted in the distance. Two humpback whales traveling along to coast in search of a feeding ground.
Some Humpback Whale facts:
|Size:||40-50 feet long|
|Weight:||Up to 48 tons|
|Diet:||Krill and fish|
- A Humpback's flippers can be as long as one third their body length, up to 16 feet on some animals.
- Humpback whales are highly vocal animals, whistling and rumbling in complex songs that can last up to 20 minutes and be heard over 20 miles away.
- Humpbacks feed by circling around schools of fish or krill and making a cylindrical net of bubbles. They then lunge into the concentrated cloud of prey with mouths wide open.
- When diving Humpbacks raise their flukes high above the water and will occasionally bring them down explosively onto the surface, presumably as some form of warning.
- Researchers still are not sure exactly how Humpbacks produce their sounds. They don't have vocal cords, so they probably sing by circulating air through the tubes and chambers of their respiratory system--but no air escapes during the concerts and their mouths don't move.
- Newborn Humpbacks consume about 100 pounds of their mother's milk each day for a period of five to seven months until they are weaned.
- Humpback whales migrate to tropical areas to breed but return to Antarctica during its summer to feed on krill and small fish. The name Humpback does not refer to any body feature but rather to the way that the whale dives arching its back as it goes down creating a 'humpback'.
And finally a full breach!!!
"One of the Humpback's more spectacular behaviors is the breach. Breaching is a true leap where a whale generates enough upward force with its powerful flukes to lift approximately two-thirds of its body out of the water, coming back down with a thunderous splash. A breach may also involve a twisting motion, when the whale twists its body sideways as it reaches the height of the breach. Other behaviors include headlunging (butting into other whales), body rolls, lobtailing (fluke and flipper slapping), and spyhopping (lifting straight out of the water)." - 'Humpback Whales' - Antarctic Connection
Read the next chapter: Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009
Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009
Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009
Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009
Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009
Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009
Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009
Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009
Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009
Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009
Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009
Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009
Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009
Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009
Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009
Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009
Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009
Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009
Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009
Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009
Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009
Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009
Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009
Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009
Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009
Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009
Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009
Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009
Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009
» Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009
Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009
Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009
Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010
Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011
More chapters posted every few days...
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