Dock Talk

Breaching Whales Create a Splash!

Canadian Princess Resort - August 15, 2013

Everyone moved to one side of the boat.  Anxiously clasping the handrail with both hands the group scanned the surface of the water looking for any sign of movement.  A few moments earlier one person had sighted a blow hole spray.

“Look over there!” they shouted, alerting the Skipper to cut the engines and the rest of the party to watch for what this whale might do next.

We all stood there, hanging onto the railing, in complete silence as the boat gently rocked in the ocean’s waves.  Then it happened.

With a tremendous WOOSH a humpback whale flew out of the water in a full breach.  Its fin seemed to wave at us as its body came almost completely out of the water.

The group let out a chorus of “wow”, “holy smokes”, and “that’s incredible” as the gentle giant slammed its enormous weight onto the surface of the water, ending this perfect show with natures best back flop and a spray of white water.  We all stood there in awe, our hearts beating with excitement keeping our eyes peeled for what might come next.

Seeing a whale breach out of the water is an incredibly moving experience.  Why do they do it?

I would like to believe they breach because it is fun, and in many cases this could be the case!  Studies have shown that whales are most likely to breach when they are in groups, so this suggests they are doing it for social reasons like courting or even showing dominance.  It is a way of signalling to other whales though clouds of bubbles in the water.  The disturbance in the water can’t be caused by any other thing, when other whales pass by they get the message.

Others suggest that the loud SMACK caused by the whale flopping back into the water will stun or scare prey, making it easier for the whale to feed.  Another suggestion is that breaching could help a whale breathe in rough seas, providing pockets of air that are not close to the surface.  Another reason could be to remove parasites from the skin.  What parasite could hang on through that roller coaster ride?

Experience these majestic marine mammals for yourself.  Whale Watching tours depart the Canadian Princess Resort daily, with both afternoon and morning trips available.  Remember to bring your camera.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Amy