Written by: @damh92
When you work around nature, you’re never ready for what you can find in it! It is always changing, it’s so unique, so irreplaceable, that the only thing you can do is to admire and appreciate the gifts she gives to you.
I can describe humpback whale watching as an incredible experience. You realize the greatness of nature by appreciating these giant mammals who live in the pacific ocean. Nothing like being grateful to nature by appreciating the mom’s devotion to their calf and simply immerse yourself into their world, also the peace they transmit and the importance of their stay here in their lifetime. I do not know how many times I have seen them, but every encounter with them is as exciting as the first time.
Image 1. Sailing with dolphins.
After a long trip of 8,000 km (4,970 mi) from the south pole, defeating their predators, surviving illegal fishing and encounters with cargo boats and an unending battle against plastic polluted ocean. You understand the challenge they face and the importance of their trip to the Colombian, Ecuadorian and Panamanian Pacific coasts. Whales choose these waters because of their warmth to give birth. This is why the survival of their species depends on this natural sanctuary.
When they arrive here to give birth, they stop feeding themselves and just to nurse their calves. They can lose over 20 tons of the 45 tons they can weight. Here the mom’s responsibility is to teach the baby whale how to survive in the pacific ocean, by learning how to use their tail to fight their predators and the strengthen of their jumps to develop their muscles and defend themselves. Jumps are also a way to keep themselves clean.
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Image 2. Whale jumping with her calf
The whale is always with her baby, since it has larger lungs, she just needs to get to the surface every 30 minutes. Nevertheless it is always underneath its baby, teaching it how to swim and how to keep its balance, supporting it with its back. Its body and the environment. Once the calf has gotten some confidence it starts rolling around, jumping and using his tail while the mom watches out for it.
How does the whale watching work?
The whale watching activity depends on everybody who is in the boat. Each side has got to bet aware of any whale blowing activity.The person to notice some or see a whale must alert the crew so the boat goes in that direction. You can identify a whale blow, because is 3 meters high (3.3 ft) and its sound is as loud as the fleeting.
Image 3. Whale blowing in Uramba Bahía Málaga Natural National Park.
We will decide if we stay with a group of whales or not, depending on their attitude. Some will remain calm and give us their best by attempting to bond with the boat. Others, whom may be older will run away and don’t blow really often. We always choose the ones who look more at ease with the boat. We also keep the motor on so they know we’re a boat and don’t feel threatened.
When the whale calves are very young, they are curious creatures, and sometimes it will approach the boat and try to explore it, since it is a novelty to it. Regardless the boat must try to respect the 200m (656 ft) distance established by the Colombian Natural Parks Organization.
Why can the whales be seen?
According to the Colombian Natural National Parks Organization and Conservation Colombia there are between 474 and 1.167 humpback whales who visit Uramba Bahia Malaga Natural National Park. There is also a record of 90 to 327 births during every whale season.
Fun fact, whales give birth in the same place where they’re born. Due to the tranquility of Uramba Bahia Malaga waters, this spot is a great and preferred by whales to spend this important stage of their lives.
On the other hand, the whale watching is very easy to do in this part of the world, since the calves are so young they need to breathe almost every 3 to 5 minutes Since their lungs are too small. The probability of watching a whale wouldn’t be this high.
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Image 4. Whale calf jumping
The humpback whales are not monogamous animals, however they choose their couple. The breeding ritual is a symphony where up to 10 male whales start singing to the female whale, she is the one that decides who’s gonna be the father of his calf depending on the melody. Sometimes the female whale turns aggressive because the male whale gets to intense so she use her tail keep him away. After she choose her couple, they reproduce in the bay where is more calm and after one year she come here by herself and give birth in Uramba Bahia Malaga.
I’ve been in three whale watching seasons and it’s never enough! I think that in each encounter with them, they give you an unexpected gift. Everything depends on your attitude and respect you feel toward the nature. That’s how we can appreciate the little things that life give to us, things that full your soul, heal your spirit and give you a tons of opportunities that take you right to your dreams.
- They have individually unique tail flicked, like a human fingerprint
- They are toothless and possess a unique feeding adaptation called a baleen. The baleen is a wide plate in the whale’s mouth, made up of hundreds of long, fringed blades, composed of keratin, the same material in our fingernails.
- Their predators just eat their tongue. Their body is 90% fat and the good part is just their tongue.
- You can’t swim with them. Their parasites are sharp so you can cut yourself. Their skin is rough as a sandpaper. It’s cool to dive near them and hear their melodies.