Humpback Sexual Harrassment Avoidance Techniques


We only ran one Whale Watch Cruise on Wednesday. but it was a good one. Guests on our Breakfast with the Whales Cruise saw 5 different whales. We spent most of the beginning of the cruise with 3 surface-active whales. Two of them were tail-lobbing, peduncle throwing, and pec slapping right on top of each other. While we were watching, a third whale made a b-line right towards all the activity. We must have seen 9 peduncle throws and more than a dozen tail lobs (only two pec slaps though). The peduncle thrower was also the whale who was doing all those tail lobs (and they were backwards tail lobs too…s/he was hitting the dorsal side of his tail on the surface). The other whale was lying on his/her side and showed us two pectoral slaps before diving. About the time the third whale reached the others, they all spouted and took a long dive. And then…they disappeared from us. We stayed in the area for a long time before seeing two more whales further out on the horizon.



Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Today I have to report on some very recently published research findings. Dr. Alison Craig and her associates observed that female Humpbacks in Hawaii with calves in tow swim 75% faster when they’re being chased by males in deep water than when they’re being chased in shallow water. As water depth decreased so did the number of males following the mother, making  females most likely to be found alone with their calves in the shallows. So why is this observation important?
 Dr. Craig suggests that it is unwanted male attention which causes the females and calves to  increase their swimming speed, in turn requiring the  mothers to supply their calves with more  milk to compensate for the extra energy they’ve used. Since the females aren’t feeding in Hawaii, the researchers theorize that these female Humpbacks are actually seeking shallow water not to avoid predators…but to avoid sexual harassment from male Humpbacks!

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