Thirsty? Humpbacks survive without drinking.

It’s difficult to believe that there are only two weeks left to this spectacular 2013/2014 Humpback Whale Watch Season. On Monday’s Breakfast with the Whales, the ocean was pretty quiet. We did see a few spouts from some big Humpbacks, and a few dorsal fins and tails. By the afternoon though, all the whales seemed to wake up. On our Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we saw a lot of spouts, a lot of flukes and a lot of splashes from surface activity occurring further out than we were. We even had a close encounter with a lone whale who may have thought we were an interesting diversion. When we deployed our hydrophones, we were heard a lot of loud and clear songs amidst the background chorus. For this late in the season, we’re surprised by how many Humpbacks are still hanging around Hawaii.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: What does a Humpback whale drink? We know the Humpback doesn’t sip on ocean water – he can’t because he’s a mammal and the salinity of his tissues is less than that of the ocean (so, like us, if he drank salt water, he’d dehydrate and die). We also know there’s no fresh water to drink from in the ocean. When the whale is feeding, we know he gets liquid from the tissues of the fish he’s digesting…and we know calves get liquid from their mother’s milk. But how does the Humpback survive through the breeding season when he’s not feeding? It turns out that one of the main by-products of fat metabolism is the production of water. Humpbacks burn a lot of fat during the breeding season and because they are extremely efficient users of the water they produce, they can survive. They don’t have tear ducts, sweat glands or salivary glands…and they have incredibly efficient kidneys which concentrate salt in their urine.