2013-10-28 Humpback (yearling?) seen off Warwick Long Bay this morning Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Heinz phoned in with a sighting of a humpback whale at 10.45 this morning off the Hermes wreck off Warwick Long Bay. The whale surfaced 50 yards behind the dive boat and was seen to blow three times before disappearing some 400 yards from shore. It was headed towards South Shore and was described as not being a full grown humpback. Perhaps a yearling? Was it alone? If so, what was it doing here at this time of the year? Heading south? Or if it is a yearling and alone and therefore too young to breed in the West Indies, staying in the mid-ocean for the winter? So many times I've 'lost' whales like this in shallow water on perfectly calm days (as today was). I would guess that it 'disappeared' because it remained underwater resting for a long time- as much as 40 minutes. The divers didn't see the whale underwater, although they did report hearing clicking sounds (humpbacks don't have sonar- that we know of- and don't 'click' the way the melon-headed beaked whales and dolphins click when 'seeing' or hearing their environment). This is the third year in a row that we have had reliable sightings of whales from September to early December. Interesting stuff but goes into that category of 'the more we know, the more we don't know'.