Thursday, January 10, 2008

Whale Nest Discovered

I had to fight high surf to get out into the ocean for a swim this morning. The sandy bottom was stirred up near shore so I swam out deeper. The water soon cleared, but further out got murky again before once again clearing up and staying clear. After half an hour I decided to head back.

I had just hit the murky water when a boat pulled up behind me and stopped. This behavior by a boat means there must be a whale nearby. Sure enough, thirty yards ahead between me and the shore was a whale on the surface breathing. So I stopped and waited for it to pass. I followed the boat a little way but saw nothing more. On my way back to the beach another boat zoomed up to me and stopped. Sure enough, following along behind me was a whale on the surface. The water was too cloudy both times to see anything underwater.

While I rested on the beach I noticed two whales repeatedly swimming back and forth at about the same distance from shore every time. They would take a couple of breaths, then dive deep (tail up then sliding down into the water is a sign of a deep dive). Only the water wasn't all that deep where they were swimming.

By the way, every time I've seen a mother and baby whale, it has always been in murky water. I am constantly amazed by television shows and magazine photographs of whales in clear water, because I always see them in cloudy water.

Humpback whales come to Maui to give birth, usually in shallow water. Someone once asked me how the whales dealt with all the sharks which must show up when the whales give birth. I have never noticed sharks anywhere around the whales which I've seen.

So here is my theory: I think it is possible that humpback whales display nesting behavior when the female is about to give birth. They find a location for the birth, then proceed to stir up the sandy bottom in that area. They hide from predators, not only visually, but by blocking their own scent with the stirred up sediment.

Hey! It's possible.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Don

    I finally am visiting your blog site. It looks great and it was nice to learn a little more about you.

    I think this whale nesting theory is interesting and very possible. I am not an expert on whales and have never heard this theory but there is still so much we do not know about whales.

    I do know that many there have been studies done with sharks to prove that they can hunt just as well in low light situations using their other senses been. Your sediment theory sipports this too.

    Thanks for sharing

    See ya Sunday as soon as I can