Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
They are amazing animals. I am learning so much from them. They have taught me to respect the "mother". I believe that a mother is the strongest animal on Earth. She is the one who loves you unconditionally, she will do anything to protect you, she would even die for you.
Kohola as the humpback whale is known in Hawaiian, migrates to Hawaii from Alaska every year during the winter months. They swim 4,942 km/3,071 miles to Hawaii's calm and warm waters where it is a safe place to raise a baby. During the mother's time here in Hawaii there is no food available for her here.
A newborn humpback whale can weigh more than one ton. The calf can grow 2 pounds an hour solely from drinking its mother's milk. They can drink 150 gallons of milk a day! Newborn humpback whales cannot breathe well on the surface on their own. For the first several days, the mother needs to nudge the calf's stomach every few minutes to help them breathe. When a mother and her newborn calf are swimming, the mother will make sure to keep an eye on her baby to ensure the calf is okay. Even though it can swim freely, when a mother humpback sleeps its baby will make sure to stay near her and will not swim away. When you see a mother with her calf and other large humpbacks together, they are not a
family. The males sticking close to the mother are called "escorts". These male humpback whales are actually waiting for a chance to mate with the female. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be dangerous for the calf because the adult males are willing to kill the calf in order to mate with its mother, so a mother humpback has to protect her calf from these males.
I am learning so much about how big a job being a mother really is. I now think that being a mother is the
most respectable job in the world. I am thankful for the animals teaching me something new every time I see them.
Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales, especially on Maui during the
months of January and February. In the area between the triangle formed by Molokai, Lanai and Maui you can see very active humpback whales. For example, if you go whale watching on Oahu, you will rarely see humpback whales breaching(jumping), but on Maui you will have a much higher chance of getting to see a 45-ton animal jumping out of the water. It is AMAZING. If you don't have the opportunity to go to Maui, I recommend going to Halona blowhole or Makapuu lookout on Oahu to try to see them. If you are lucky you may even get to see one breaching! Last time I went to see them was only a few days ago, and I was lucky enough to see a calf practicing how to breach. It was quite entertaining!
Humpback whale facts
How fast they can swim: When traveling, they move at about 3 to 10 miles/h (5 to 15 km/h). When they want to really move they can speed up to about 15.5 miles/h (25 km/h).
Length: 40-50 feet (12-19 metres)
Weight: 4 ton
Diet: Krill, other plankton, small fish
They have the longest pectoral fins of all the whales. It is 1/3 of their body length. They are also known as singing whales. A male humpback whales song is sometimes 20 minutes long. Recently, Australian scientist has discovered that humpback whales in the South Pacific follow musical trends that change by the season. These song trends always move from west to east and across thousands of miles of ocean from the east coast of Australia to French Polynesia over the course of a year or two.
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Blog by Hawaii Underwater Photographer Akima Kai Contact
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