the whales are back

conservation: 03 May 2017


This is such an exciting time of year as impressive pods of the massive Humpback whale have returned to our waters to mate and breed. Having spent the winter months in the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean, feeding on krill and building up blubber at a rate of up to 1ton/day, the adults are slowly working their way back north to tropical waters where the cows give birth after a gestation period of approximately 11 months. The bulls are renowned for their impressive variety of vocal sounds, audible to the human ear, with each repertoire apparently unique to their particular population.

The Humpback whale story is a happy one in the main. As a result of indiscriminate slaughter decades ago, legislation was drawn up in 1963 to protect whales. Since then, as a protected species, whale numbers have rebounded impressively and recent monitoring of our waters show their numbers in our area to have grown to around 7000 individuals at the height of the season. Sightings are a regular highlight in the waters off The Sanctuary where plentiful numbers literally cavort and ‘dance’ through the water, breaching magnificently and providing breathtaking spectacles for us to enjoy. These seemingly gentle and benign behemoths reach a size of 15 meters and can be unpredictable so please remember not to approach too closely as you could be dealing with a 40 ton protective mommy!

Several owners have already reported excellent sightings over the past month.