Acrobats of the Sea
Humpback whales sometimes launch themselves right out of the water in a behavior called breaching. Breaching may be a way to loosen skin parasites, but some scientists think humpbacks are just having fun, hence their nickname, "the acrobats of the sea." One thing we know: it’s definitely fun to watch.
The Long Haul
You think your commute is long? Humpbacks whales swim epic distances during their annual migration, sometimes travelling as far as 4,000 miles each way. The humpbacks you’ll see in the spring in Bermuda are on a journey north to the waters near Labrador, Greenland and Iceland. Though they can travel as fast as five miles an hour, most migrating humpbacks go a mere one mile an hour since they rest and socialise along the way. Check out a map of breeding grounds and migration routes.
The average humpback weighs about 40 tons and measures 48 to 62 feet long. That's about the size of a city bus. They have knobby heads and long fins, the latter to better propel them through the water.
The average humpback weighs about 40 tons and measures 48 to 62 feet long. That's about the size of a city bus.
Humpbacks eat tiny things, mostly shrimp-like crustaceans known as krill. But their appetites are anything but small. Each whale can eat up to 1.5 tons (1,361 kg) of food a day. If that sounds like way too much chow, remember that, on average, a humpback weighs about 40 tons.
Humpbacks are legendary for their haunting and complex songs. These amazing compositions can last up to an hour and can be heard from distances up to 20 miles away, making the humpbacks’ vocal range among the broadest in the animal kingdom. Take a listen.
Humpbacks are popular amongst whale watchers because they’re generally approachable and friendly. But it’s vital to treat these magnificent creatures with respect so you don't stress them out or negatively affect their migration. Bermuda researcher Andrew Stevenson has put together a handy set of whale-watching guidelines to review before setting out on your Bermuda whale-watching boat trip.