March 16 – March 23, 2019
Week Eight of our 29th Season
This year Aquatic Adventures embarks on its 29th year of providing our guests the unique opportunity to encounter the North Atlantic humpback whales on their breeding and calving grounds, the Silver Bank. As the season unfolds, we’ll be highlighting some of the various encounters and experiences of our guests and team members from their perspectives. We hope you enjoy following along!
It was a more than usual romantic week in the mating and calving grounds of the Silver Bank this week. Many guests were able to capture the full moon’s soft glow reflecting off the sea on Tuesday evening. Across the animal kingdom it is said that many natural occurrences are based on the lunar cycle. Whether this is true or not, we feel as though we had some very unique moments this week, including three encounters with singers. These are male humpback whales that use the transfer of air through constricted nasal cavities to emit the highest range of tones known in the animal kingdom. There is no conclusive information on what the purpose of the song is, but some say that the males are singing to solicit females; how romantic.
(Humpback song recorded February 2019)
Occasionally, we are lucky enough to witness the interaction of humpback whales with dolphins that are passing through the area. This week three bottlenose dolphins came to visit when we were already in the water with a mother and calf. Circling and dancing around the whales, they seemed to want to play. The mother and calf would come up for a breath and resettle a few body lengths away with the dolphins quickly following behind, then interestingly enough, when the dolphins began to stray the whales would curiously follow them. This went back and forth a few times until they both decided to go their separate ways.
Meanwhile, the other tender was following a mother, calf and escort that were moving upwind into the coral heads. One after another they breached, first the escort, throwing his entire body out of the water and spinning, then the mother and just as she landed, the calf beside her came rising from the waves, throwing itself through the air. It was the most incredible display to see all three, one after the other, breach in the same manner as if synchronized.
Later in the week we witnessed another mother, calf and escort resting in the shallow clear water of the coral heads. We entered the water and watched the baby time after time poke its head out from underneath the female, come to the surface for a breath, then return, not to the female but to rest gently under the courting male, who invited the action and continued to rest calmly. Confusion struck the guests as they realized what was happening. Was this normal? How often had we seen this before? Even though a calf moving from the female to her suitor is not a common behavior, it does happen from time to time. Perhaps the orchestra of singing whales and the full moon is the perfect recipe for socializing in one form or another.
The Aquatic Adventures team hopes that you are as inspired as we are to help sustain the humpback whale population. Through our partnership with the Center for Coastal Studies, we are helping to gain critical information on these charismatic creatures, and to seek ways to protect and preserve them. To find out more about this effort, join their mailing list or to make a donation, large or small, please visit: www.coastalstudies.org/aquaticadventures
We are proud to support SeaLegacy in their efforts to create powerful media to change the narrative around our world’s oceans. Their mission is to inspire the global community to protect our oceans. To learn more about SeaLegacy and help with this important mission, please visit: https://www.sealegacy.org
Thanks to all who have generously donated!
Learn more about Aquatic Adventures here.
Written by: Aquatic Adventures team member Gillian Morin
Edited by: Aquatic Adventures team member Heather Reser
Images: Kristan Norvig and Ethan Daniels (featured image: © Ethan Daniels) – THANK YOU!