2011 03 12- Back from the humpback whales' breeding grounds on the Silver Bank Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

I have just returned from five days on the humpback whales' breeding grounds on the Silver Bank, some 80 miles north of Puerto Plata on the north shore of the Dominican Republic. We had fantastic weather and plenty of in the water encounters with humpbacks including some evidence of new behaviors that I have never heard described before. The mothers and calves were numerous and judging from the acrobatic and energetic behavior of some of the young calves, they are ready for their long migration northwards. But there were also some very young calves and I doubt they will be ready to migrate for at least another six weeks. In about a week the numbers of whales on the Silver Bank will slowly begin to diminish which corresponds to the time frame when we begin to expect to see them migrating through Bermuda waters. If a mother and calf travel an average of 4 knots (to round the figures off to make it easier to calculate) then in a 24-hour period they would cover 100 miles. With a distance of 1,000 miles to Bermuda, we would expect to see them ten days after leaving the Silver Bank. That would bring us up to the last week of March which is exactly when we begin to see the large numbers of humpbacks cruising off our South Shore.


In the meantime our ever reliable Tim Card has been spotting humpbacks from the South Shore. These may be the whales that have been hanging around Bermuda all winter or they could be an early wave of migrants. Until we can consistently photo ID these whales, get an idea of their size and gender (by getting in the water with them) we are still going to be in the dark which category of whales these are.



The photographs from the trip and links to the video will be on this site during this upcoming week.



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