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The Return of our Humpbacks

The Return of our Humpbacks

Posted By: Olwethu Bandezi on July 14, 2014

Around the beginning of June every year the Bluff head office is treated to the annual arrival of whales to the Bluff shore. Each year R100.00 is up for grabs to the first person to spot the arrival of the whales in the Spot the Whale office challenge.

Previously the whales have always made their appearance in the first day or two of June. This year had us waiting and wondering with great worry as the month of June came and passed without a single sighting. Yet another sign of the strong impact the global warming phenomena?

The Durban July weekend cold front seems to have been our saving grace, because we made our first sighting last week Monday.

Our interest in the whales we have seen off the coast over the years, has had some of our staff researching a bit about the Humpback Whales.

It’s said that most populations of humpback whales follow a regular migration route.

Adult whales are said to range in length from 12–16 metres and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms. The males are known for producing a complex song that can last between 10 to 20 minutes, and can repeat this song for hours at a time.

Humpback whales eat fish and krill. They are baleen whales, meaning they are filter feeders. These whales have two parallel rows of baleen plates attached to their jaws, allowing them to filter water for fish and krill. They can eat up to a ton of food a day, and newborn humpback calves can eat 100 pounds of their mother’s milk a day and only feed in the summer months.

They spend their Summer in temperate and polar waters for feeding, and Winter in tropical warmer waters for mating and calving. Of course, we all know how lovely and warm the Durban seas are at this time of the year.

We are glad to finally have our extended world travellers back in our neighbourhood.

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