03 September 2013 | Mozambique
Yes, only 300nm from our home port, and we were yet again amazed by one of the true wonders of nature, the humpback whales! Since we arrived at Inhambane, we have seen approximately 80 humpack whales. We were entertained by the blows, the breaching, flipper-slapping, fluking-up and lob tailing! These are truly big animals, apparently between 13 and 16m on average, and our yacht is a mere 10m in length!
Once the activities were so close to us, we heard them “ough” before we saw them behind the boat. They were literally within jumping-in-the-water distance. Other times they dived underneath us just as we reached them and we got a big fluke-up before they disappeared under Goody. This made us all jump around on deck from excitement to experience these wonderful creatures so up-close. The boys even developed a “whale-swing” with the sheets, which they do after up-close whale activities. Johannes shouts “whales”, and him and Dirk do their wildest and biggest possible swings on the foredeck with the foresail sheets.
Research indicates that the breaching actions are related to dominance behaviour by the males as a threatening gesture, especially during rough seas. It is thought that the loud sounds of these actions are a means of communication when the noise from the wind and waves threatens to drown out any other signals. This was actually very noticeable, as soon as the wind picked up, the breaching and flipper-slapping increased. Quite impressive activities from such gentle giants!