eNewsletter: November edition

Spotlight: Humpback whale

Each month we will dive into fun facts, stories, and updates with you, our whale and dolphin loving community of fin-tastic supporters!

Did you know?

Humpback whales

  • Humpback whales are massive, growing up to 17 meters (about 18.6 yards) in length.
  • When they ‘fluke-up’ and dive, showing the underside of their tail fluke, researchers can identify individual humpback whales by their unique markings.
  • Humpbacks feast on tiny crustaceans like krill and other small schooling fish, they gulp enormous mouthfuls of their prey and seawater. Using their baleen plates, they then filter out the water.
  • The first year of a humpback’s life is comparable to cramming zero to…

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Tell us about your first-time

Learn about our staff’s first-time whale watching experiences below:

Nothing can prepare you for those moments in life when you experience something for the first time. I couldn’t sit still. I felt a childlike rush of joy and anticipation buzz through my bones as we set out on the boat towards the reported location of feeding humpbacks. I’d heard stories of people waiting for hours only to see a glimpse of a blow in the distance, so it took me by complete surprise when, within minutes of arriving, there they were. Those majestic, shining giants, bursting from the water all at once, enormous mouths gaping wide, glistening in the Alaskan summer sun with a cacophony of gulls scrabbling around for a doomed herring. Wow. Immediate happy tears.


My first wild whale sighting was actually unexpected. On the night before my first scheduled whale watch, I was sitting outside near the beach when people started shouting and pointing towards the horizon. At first, I saw nothing, but then, way off in the distance I saw a whale-shaped figure rise out of the water and make a big splash. Seeing the whale’s silhouette against a sunset background of orange and yellow looked like a scene from a movie. This sighting fueled my excitement to get out on the water the next day even more.

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© Georgia Department of Natural Resources, taken under NOAA permit 21371-04 Photo of Porcia and calf last December

Right whale population has stabilized

Each year, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium releases a “report card” on the status of North Atlantic right whales, which includes a population estimate. The 2021 report card population estimate was 340, a continuation of the steep decline since 2010. However, there is some hopeful news to share, according to the 2023 report card…