Humpback Whale Facts
Learn more about Humpback Whale Facts with Australia Whale Experience. Humpback whales get their name from the visible hump that forms in front of their short dorsal fin. This dorsal fin is short and stubby when compared to the fins of dolphins and other whales. This hump is highlighted when they are getting ready to dive, rise, and flex their backs.
A typical humpback whale has a pale belly, dark back, and pleats on its neck. Megaptera novaeangliae or “Big-winged New Englander” is the scientific name given to this species, since it was well known to Europeans who swam in the waters around New England.
Humpback whales can reach a length of 15 to 19 metres (roughly the length of a school bus) and a weight of 40 tonnes. Their large and unwieldy flippers (pectoral fins) are among their most notable and distinguishing characteristics. They have the largest pectoral fins of any baleen whale, measuring over 5 metres long.
Typically, humpbacks migrate in small groups of two to three whales, known as pods, rather than travelling in large numbers. Mom and baby whales even touch their fins as a likely gesture of affection while they are travelling together. Occasionally, they even assist each other in hunting or finding food.
A humpback whale’s typical route between its nesting and feeding areas can be as far as 3,000 miles (5,000 km). Among the longest migrations ever documented was a journey that spanned an incredible 11,706 miles (18,840 km) between American Samoa and the Antarctic Peninsula.
These whales are recognised for their eerie, evocative cries or songs. The patterns of groans, screams, cries, and other sounds are extremely intricate, and they can last for several hours. Scientists are trying to figure out what these noises represent.
Humpback whales sing to converse with one another and to attract possible mates, according to several experts. There have been reports of humpback calves “whispering” to their mothers. This might help them in avoiding predators and large males.
The humpback whale population in the western South Atlantic has been reduced to approximately 450 individuals as a result of decades of intensive whaling industry hunting. Since the 1985 moratorium on commercial whaling, however, humpback whale populations have rebounded in a number of locations. Humpback whales face the greatest dangers now from ship crashes and fishing gear entanglements.
Humpback whales are truly magnificent creatures that exhibit complex behaviours. They are found in every ocean on earth and are recognized for their incredible acrobatic ability when it comes to breaching the water.
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Whale Watching Tours Bundaberg
For many people in Queensland, Bundaberg is their home. Every year, the green sea and loggerhead turtles return to this sanctuary to complete the cycle of life. The volcanic-rich soils give plentiful food for farmers and distillers. Manta rays seek sanctuary here, while humpback whales use it as a stopover on their annual migration.
The crystal-clear seas near Bundaberg welcome the beautiful southern humpback whales every year, from July through November. Whale watching tours allow you to follow them as they migrate from Antarctica to the southern coast of Australia. Be prepared to be awestruck as these enormous mammals graze, mate, and play off the coast of Bundaberg!
Lady Musgrave Experience
Take a four-hour trip on the luxurious catamaran ‘Main Event’ with Lady Musgrave Experience. The 360-degree viewing platforms offer breathtaking views of the southern humpback whales in action, with insightful commentary. The air-conditioned high-speed catamaran with four levels offers complimentary breakfast and meal.
Australia Whale Experience
Australia Whale Experience, a division of Lady Musgrave Experience, provides a four-hour whale watching tour in Bundaberg. Breakfast tea and a light meal are served as part of the excursion, which departs the port at 10 am and returns at 2 pm. Passengers on the 35-meter luxury catamaran ‘Main Event’ are treated to stunning views of the shoreline. Humpback whales can be seen playing in the open sea as you make your way out into the ocean.
Consider purchasing a season pass if seeing this breathtaking exhibition of leviathan just once isn’t enough. Whale-watching season passes are an excellent way to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to witness these amazing creatures up close. For a two-day package, you get a half-day whale-watching cruise and Lady Musgrave Reef snorkelling included.
When to Plan Your Bundaberg Trip
If you want to see humpback whales migrating through Bundaberg in the winter to the Whitsundays’ warm, subtropical seas to mate and give birth, you’ll want to schedule your trip from July to November. When it comes to weather, Bundaberg’s winters are mild, with July being the coolest month with a typical daytime temperature of roughly 21 degrees (Celsius). November marks the beginning of the warm season, with daily highs around 28 degrees.
Bundaberg’s whale viewing season lasts just for four months out of the year. Plan your Bundaberg vacation based on other places you’d like to go that are seasonally dependent on the area! Perhaps you’d like to combine your whale watching tour with the turtle-hatching season at Mon Repos?
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Humpback Whale Migration
Humpback whales can be found in all of the world’s oceans. Every year, they cover vast distances, making their annual migration that is considered the world’s longest for any mammals. Some species migrate 5,000 km from tropical breeding areas to cooler habitats rich in food. To maintain their enormous size, humpback whales use their baleen plates as a giant sieve to sift through vast quantities of ocean water to graze on krill and tiny fish.
Almost all humpback whale populations had been depleted by commercial whaling before the year 1985 when the practice was finally banned. Today, the main threats to the species include fishing gear entanglement, vessel hits, and vessel-based harassment, along with underwater noise.
However, in the Oceania subpopulation, which travels from Oceania to the Southern Ocean, there is a minimal indication of considerable population rebound. Only 3,000-5,000 animals remain in this critically-endangered subpopulation, which is less than one-fourth the size it formerly had.
Where Do Humpbacks Travel To?
To find more sources of food, North Pacific Humpbacks travel from northern Japan, across the Bering Sea, and all the way down to southern California, usually from spring to autumn. There are four primary areas in the North Pacific where they breed: Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and some parts of Asia.
Humpback whales make long-distance migrations between feeding grounds in the higher latitudes and wintering habitats in the lower latitudes. A yearly migration from warmer subtropical seas to eat during the winter months allows these animals to reproduce and give birth.
These whales spend most of their time in the North Pacific Ocean, migrating to tropical destinations such as the islands of Hawaii, the Californian coast, the Gulf of California’s southern tip, and Costa Rica. Humpback whales from the Bering Sea and Western Aleutians go to the Northern Marianas Islands, Taiwan (China), Japan, the Philippines, and Korea.
When humpbacks are on the northwestern Atlantic coast, they can be seen at feeding grounds off Iceland and southern Greenland in the summer as well as off Norway and Svalbard on Canada and the US east coasts. From the southern Bahamas, this population travels to Grenada, the Grenadines, and Venezuela.
The Bottom Line about Whale Migration
Humpback whales can be found in all of the world’s oceans, including the Arctic and Antarctic. It is astounding how far and wide these whales travel every few months. During their seasonal migrations, some species travel 5,000 km between high-latitude summer grazing regions and tropical waters for mating and calving.
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