Interesting Facts About Humpback Whales

Seen from May to November in Jervis Bay, the humpback whale is an amazing ocean mammal. In the southern hemisphere, humpback whales migrate northward during the winter months, leaving the cold seas of the Antarctic behind and heading towards the warmer waters surrounding Australia. Visitors to our coast are lucky enough to be treated to excellent views of these magnificent animals, passing by in the hundreds.

Ever since the days of tales like Moby Dick, whales have seemed mysterious, powerful creatures of the deep. While no longer a mystery, humpback whales are still fascinating and have many unusual qualities. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about humpback whales:

Not All Humpback Whales Sing

The humpback whale may be known for its distinctive and almost mournful song, but the truth is, not all humpbacks sing. The wide variety of hums, moans, and whistles is actually only performed by male humpbacks, with some debate about the ultimate purpose of these vocalisations. While these sounds are able to be heard and picked up by other whales miles away, scientists are still not entirely sure why humpback whales sing. The most likely theory is that whale song is related to mating or positional communication between male humpbacks. Interestingly, whales in a given area perform the same song, but it changes slowly over time.

Humpbacks Must Remember to Breathe

Whales are mammals and breathe air just like humans. However, while we breathe automatically, humpback whales breathe voluntarily. And while their lengthy dive time (the average whale can hold its breath underwater for about 60 minutes) might suggest that whales can breathe underwater, this is not true. Whales draw breath through the blowhole on the top of their heads and must surface, albeit not a lot, in order to breathe.

Since they must breathe on their own, you might wonder how whales sleep at night. Scientists believe that the whales keep part of their brain engaged while they sleep, allowing them to continue breathing while still getting some shut-eye.

humpback whales

Humpback whales are the most acrobatic whales

This fact may not be as much of a secret, since the impressive tricks of the humpback draw people near and far for whale watching. Breaching and tail slapping are just a few of the ways in which humpbacks fly through the air (seemingly with the greatest of ease!). Researchers think that these activities play a role in communication for the whales or may help them loosen some of the many barnacles that have grown attached to their skin. A further school of thought holds that the whales do these movements simply for sheer joy!

Now that you’re an expert on humpback whales, it’s about time you came to see these beautiful mammals for yourself! Our whale eco cruise (whale watching tour) departs daily from mid-May until November. Book now and come catch a glimpse of the mighty humpback.

Bioluminescence in Jervis Bay 2021

Bioluminescence in Jervis Bay 2021

Jervis Bay is famous for many things – white sand, crystal clear waters and whale watching to name a few. Jervis Bay is also one of the few places in Australia where you can witness the incredible natural phenomena known as bioluminescence. There have been some...

read more
Jervis Bay Territory: Your Questions Answered

Jervis Bay Territory: Your Questions Answered

When most people think of Jervis Bay, they think of the popular tourist destination on the NSW South Coast. Technically, Jervis Bay is a body of water with settlements along the northern and southern sides. These include the villages of Huskisson, Vincentia, Callala...

read more
Shoalhaven Wineries and Breweries

Shoalhaven Wineries and Breweries

Shoalhaven Wineries and Breweries After a day at the beach or out on the water, there's nothing quite like a refreshing drink. Fortunately, the Shoalhaven isn't just ideal for outdoor adventures, it is also known for its thriving food and wine culture. Here are some...

read more
Whale Watching Season Has Started!

Whale Watching Season Has Started!

Whale watching season has begun! Here at Jervis Bay Wild, this is our most thrilling time of the year, as we witness the annual humpback whale migration right here in our backyard. Beginning mid-May, the whales start making their way from the southern Antarctic...

read more

BOOK NOW FOR AN
UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURE