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© copyright by Captain Gene

© copyright by Captain Gene
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
Only three more trips to go this Silver Bank season! Check out our latest cruise report.
Straight from the log of Conscious Breath Adventure’s Captain Gene:
Almost every single swim we had this week was with the elite trio of mom, calf and escort. It seems like the mothers of the bank have been giving birth left, right and center, (we've sighted over 20 different pairs) and now the escorts are prowling around down looking to mate! In humpback whales, the female can go into estrus only two weeks after having a baby (!), so it is possible that they can get pregnant again in the same season they give birth, which explains the males following the mum and babies around. The escort is not the father to the calf, just a wanna-be father for the next. However, we don’t know for sure that the female will often mate after giving birth (although it definitely happens). It may be that she dodges every escort and challenger to prioritize getting her calf safely to her home feeding grounds with as much energy as possible, rather than growing another baby inside her while nurturing her young - and migrating. The mothers can lose around a third of their body weight, what with not eating for several months and giving birth and nursing a giant baby whale, so we don’t blame them for taking a year off.

But that doesn’t change the fact that we saw nearly ten different mum and calves with escort this last week alone. People often ask us how the presence of an escort affects our swim success rate, and it really depends on the escorts. Sometimes they are completely indifferent and don’t affect a thing - they are just a third bonus whale. Sometimes they are suspicious and protective and when they see us they will push the female on and spoil any opportunities. But, on the other hand, sometimes they completely steal the show. That was what happened with our first swim of the week. When we got in the water, the calf gave us a once over with mummy hovering close by, making sure her little one was safe from the strange, tiny, wiggly snorkel-toting creatures. The escort, however, cruised right below us and rolled over with his fins outstretched, giving us a lovely look at his ventral pleats, while examining us closely. It was a short, sweet look that set the expectations high for the week!

But the ocean, to be honest, was not necessarily kind to us this week – it was breezy. Luckily, though, we weren’t blown out and we even had our best swim on the windiest day, too. This happened when we came upon a rare mom and calf duo that actually didn’t have an escort accompanying them, an unusual sight of late! The mother was so relaxed, and the baby was sweet and perfect and curious. We were able to get both boats’ swimmers in several times in turn for a classic Silver Bank interaction. It finally ended when the duo the woke up with a breach after which we spent a little while longer watching them as they breached in unison, pec slapped and did all sorts of other surface social behavior. It was a fantastic show from a wonderful pair of whales. Then just as suddenly it was time to get back for happy hour – and after that experience, what a very happy hour it was!

Those were just our favorite interactions, but there were more than that, including a trio that gave us a four second interaction. Or so we thought as they swam away from us but then suddenly returned to circle us for almost twenty minutes!

We wish you whale,

Dive Conditions
Visibility   0 ft / 0 m
Water Temp.   - / -
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