2011 12 21- First of the winter whales spotted today off South Shore Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Five humpback whales were spotted in 100-feet of water off Sonesta Beach today. This is the sixth season in a row we have sighted the 'winter' whales for the first time during the last week of December. A remarkable coincidence.

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Elsa looking for the whales from our secret hiding spot. Today we could see for several miles with perfect visibility and a flat ocean. In the morning Somers and I did the same thing although Somers seemed more interested in picking flowers. When we saw two of the small fishing boats come in to Devonshire Bay we headed over there to ask if they had seen the whales, or any other whales yet this season.

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The fisherman hadn't noticed this morning's whales but had noticed the water swirling around the boat yesterday and wondered if it was a whale. Judging from the size of the barracudas they caught, it could have been the barracudas swishing around them!

 

So what were five whales doing together in 100 feet of water off South Shore? Good question. Migrating south en masse? Probably not. Feeding? No. Breeding? Maybe. Or were they juveniles females sticking together for protection and hanging out in the middle of the ocean for the winter, avoiding the testoserone-laden males down south and picking up snacks on the mid-ocean sea-mounts? That would be my guess. The ratio of male humpbacks to females in the feeding grounds in one to one, down in the winter breeding grounds it is four to one. Where are all the missing females? Here, in the middle of the ocean.

 

If anyone does see one of our winter whales please let us know, and better still, try and get a fluke ID of its fluke so that we can try to match it and determine where the whale has come from.