June 13, 2022
Have you ever been up close to a 17m long whale? We are not referring to videos, we mean real-life!
Wonderful and amazing humpback whales. Adult specimens can reach 17 meters in length; their fins are about a third of size and serve as a rudder, for hunting and even to regulate body temperature.
With their dark backs, humpback whales travel distances, which for us human beings, are unimaginable; every year during the winter they leave the seas of the northern hemisphere and swim to the warm tropical waters.
Their feeding grounds are found in the seas of Canada and Norway, consuming up to 1,360 kg per day. They feed mainly on krill, crustaceans, and organisms that make up zooplankton. An adult whale can weigh up to 360 quintals!
Did you know they don’t have teeth? Their jaws they have approximately 270 to 400 barbs, about 70 cm long; made of keratin and flexible, they act like a “comb”, a kind of filter that holds small fish in the mouth while the water flows out.
An incredible fact: They eat very little after they reach tropical waters, as they have already accumulated enough body fat.
Males emit sounds and vocalizations during the breeding period; These sounds can last from 10 to 20 minutes and are repeated for several hours.
Once the females are fertilized, they choose to give birth in warm seas. A baby whale, or calf, at birth weighs 700/900 kg and is 4.5 meters long…
It is exciting to observe their behavior and movements, especially from a few meters away. They can spout a blow of up to 3 meters in height in the form of a column or are V-shaped. Their tails are imposing and, when the whales are completely submerged, only the silhouettes of the huge tails are visible.
They are acrobatic stars when they rise to the surface, making breathtaking spins that allow us to admire them in all their splendor. The large cetaceans emerge with at least two-thirds of their bodies before falling back into the water, while the calves already perform cartwheels and full turns. They have incredible agility, considering that they weigh the equivalent of 400 people!
Science is still not very clear about the meaning of their surfacing behavior; it could be a courtship display, a signpost, a way to collect fish before catching them, or to get rid of parasites. Yet the truth is these movements are surprising and exciting to us.
Every year, from mid-January to mid-March, the cetacean species Megaptera novaeangliae, or Humpback Whales, migrate in large numbers from Canadian waters to those of the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of the Environment has decreed some areas as marine protected areas while allowing people access in the Samaná Bay.
We go, aboard small boats, in search of these wonderful animals, which, with their majestic movements, allow us to get closer. It is common to see mothers with their little ones or adult partners.
The whale excursion is an unforgettable experience.
June 10, 2022