2012 04 30- tagged whale zig-zags and meanders around the middle of the ocean on and off seamounts Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   


For a detailed, close-up view of this whale's curious wanderings see below:


We see many of ‘our' whales on the Challenger Seamount 15 miles off Bermuda for days on end demonstrating the same kind of relaxed, "I'm in no rush", behaviour. We've just re-sighted another one with an 8-day layover here!

I'm convinced the whales are aggregating into known associations on these mid-ocean seamounts. Would love it if we could have one of these tagged whales come to Bermuda. I'm sure we would see it hang around here for a while. We see them going from Bermuda to Challenger Bank (SW in the opposite direction of their migration) as much as we see them going from Challenger to Bermuda, in the direction they should be heading, NE. Obviously a lot of meandering going on. I'm sure this wandering has nothing to do with food, more to do with socialization. Every year we see packs of them, with one leader always fluking first before all the others fluke. They demonstrate coordinated breathing, seem like males and females and juveniles, with as many as 16 in a pack. They will meander all day, or days, over Challenger Bank and there doesn't seem to be any aggression in their behaviour. This year we observed two packs of 8 and 12 wander all over Challenger, occasionally meeting up on the crown and then breaking off into their separate packs again. In shallow waters (50-60 feet) we find females with calves and escorts. Did the escort join the mother and calf in the breeding grounds and escort the pair here? I think that is a possibility. I also think they could pick up an escort on the seamounts.

We also often witness several whales dancing around each other in tightly formed packs of males. They rub against each other and generally covert together for extended periods, like a pack of wolves who haven't seen each other for a while. Occasionally there is the side slap at another whale, but no real aggression being displayed.



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