Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Joy in the Morning
Juvenile Humpback Whale, Mámala Bay, Honolulu Hawaii
This was clearly a small whale, as whales go, but it did not seem to have a mother around, therefore it was probably a juvenile that had recently left its mother. It did not breach but when two mature whales passed in the distance--we could see their 20-foot spouts but never got close--the juvenile near the boat did a series of tail slaps, most likely to signal the adults of its presence, according to the naturalist on board.
Usually tail slaps are done with a vertical tail. The tail at an angle makes this a "peduncle slap," and according to an online source, might signal stress or aggression. Makes me wonder if this was a baby that had gotten separated from its mother.