Swimming With the Whale sharks – Humpback Whales Are One of the Gentle Giants of the Sea
Every year, swim-humpback whales experience extreme long migratory movements between breeding and feeding grounds. They feed primarily near the Equator and give birth within the tropics each year, and they travel up to sixteen thousand miles (25,500km) between those areas each year. This means that, on average, a swim-hound will cover one thousand miles over their lifetime. Some breeds of whales have even been known to cover over thirty thousand miles in their lifetime.
The largest known swim-humpback whale is the Humpback, which weighs in at over eight thousand pounds. Lesser varieties can weigh a bit less than half a ton. While these animals are incredibly large, the fact is that they are not very fast swimmers. Their long necks and narrow mouths make it extremely difficult for them to propel themselves with air. This means that although they can remain afloat for several hours after feeding, it would take them more than seven hours to return to the surface of the water.
In the early months of spring, humpback whales move closer to the southern Australian coast where they give birth. Mother whales feed exclusively on their young, and so any calf that is not breast fed by its mother loses the chance at life. However, the mothers do have the ability to nurse the youngsters to adulthood, so if she is along, the calf will have a better chance at being fed.
When the waters start to warm, the migration route of the whales changes again, heading towards warmer waters around Australia, New Zealand, and the Northern region of Latin America. They head far enough south so that the surf catches them as they pass along the coastlines. When you see pictures of these incredible creatures, you may wonder why the whale shark so often appears so close to these humpback whales.
One of the theories scientists have suggested is that these large mammals head towards warmer climes in search of food. As the waters get warmer, the water temperature begins to rise, which in turn makes swimming more comfortable. In addition, whales use up large amounts of energy when swimming and may be trying to conserve energy as well. If this is true, the more whales that appear near coastal areas the better chances there are that more humpback whales and orca will swim through the waters of Western Australia, catching the attention of more vacationers.
The gentle giants of the sea may seem small to humans, but they have incredible strength and endurance. Even though humans cannot climb the towering whale backs, we can still take advantage of their power and joy. Many whale watching tours in and around Western Australia are offered all year round with amazing views of the whales and the quietness of the coastal region. With tours available throughout the year and in select times during the summer months, you could easily spend a week enjoying the wonders of the whale watching experience while being treated to the magnificent beauty of Australia’s coastal waters.