Updated: Sep 18, 2020
How do you recognize a humpback whale at sea?
Humpback whales' blows can be spotted from far away. They have long white pectoral fins that contrast with their black body. Most of the time, when they prepare to dive, we can see their majestic tail with often white patterns on the inside. It is by their caudal fin that we recognize (identify) them. Finally it gets its name from its back which is shaped like a bump. Humpbacks are a very active whale on the surface, and it is not uncommon to see them breach , tap their tails or pectorals or do spy hopping with their head.
"Boston. It was the first time a saw a whale. A two hours show! ". Picture of Humpback whale breaching by Virginie wyss
Where can we find humpback whales?
Humpback whales are cosmopolitan, they are migrating animals and they go to give birth or mate in tropical waters such as Hawaii, Polynesia, Colombia, Brazil, French Guiana, Australia, Tonga, Cape Verde. They feed in the colder hemispheres in Alaska, the Arctic, Iceland, Antarctica.
Why do humpback whales sing?
Among humpback whales it's the males that sing. It is probably a way to charm the females and to find themselves in the immense environment that is the ocean. Each whale population has its own song and the song evolves from year to year, sometimes repeating the hits of the neighbors. A legend says that whales tirelessly sing the frequencies of the earth so that we do not forget where we come from and that it helps rebalance the magnetic field of the earth. Anyway it is always fascinating to hear them, here is a sample from the Oceania Project
What to do if you see one?
First of all, don't approach them. You don't want to disturb them and you'll avoid a risk of collision! But if you take pictures of them you can send them to iNaturalist, Happywhale, Whalewatch, Obsenmer ou Flukebook, this way you'll contribute to research and help to know more about these marine mammals!