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Humpback Whales Breach In The Bay

Published Sep 8, 2005 - (Updated Jul 17, 2012)


One of the greatest thrills you can experience inside Banderas Bay is watching the play of the humpback whales that return every year to mate and give birth. As many as 300 have been sighted during one season; and it is our good fortune that, of all the whales in the world, the humpback is the species that breaches most frequently-up to once every 40 seconds for several minutes! Experts believe that the leaps may be for courtship, a challenge or a display of strength.

The first to leave the bay are the recently impregnated females followed by the young, and later, by the mature adults. Last to leave are the mothers with their newborn calves, conceived the year before. This extra time in warm waters allows calves time to develop a thick layer of insulating fat that they will need in their northern home.

Oceanographers say there used to be around 15,000 Humpback whales in the world; but today there are only about 5,000 with perhaps 1,000 in the Pacific Ocean. Boats are not permitted to get very close to the adults and must remain even farther away from calves. Only authorized researchers are allowed to approach them. Fishermen are required to be careful using their nets as the whale calves can get tangled in them and die. If you are on a boat in the bay, never throw overboard any article made of plastic as the whales can die from swallowing it. For that matter, don't throw anything into the bay, the whales aren't the only ones who want to swim in clean waters!

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