Humpback whale Samana Bay

mammal sanctuary

Whale Watching in Samana Bay

Humpback Whales

Samana is reputed for it's whale watching during the whale season from December to March. They can be seen in the protected area just outside Samana. During these months approx. 1000 to 2000 humpback whales migrate from the cold North into the warm sea in order to mate or to breed.
This is without any doubt a breathtaking spectacle watching these giants of the sea measuring up to 16m and weighing around 40 tons jumping and diving in the water. Humpback whales are said to be the most entertaining whales of all, especially during mating season.

Every year, they come by thousands and thousands in the warm and calm waters of the Caribbean, to mate or to give birth. Thereby, they come here, in the Samana bay, considered as one of the best sites in the world to observe them.

Marine mammals, they breathe air, and for that purpose, they regularly come up on the surface. They stay without breathing around 20 minutes (it’s an average), but they can stay under water up to 40 minutes.

After the long journey they realize and during which they did not feed at all, they spend a part of the winter in our region, still without feeding themselves. They will, thereby, loose a fifth of their weight.

Simply because the calf, at its birth, has a too thin « fat layer » to take cold waters. When it comes to world, it measures between 3, 50 and 5 meters, and weights one tone. To constitute then a defender greasy layer and to acquire enough forces to follow its mother during the return trip, it will consume daily approximately 200 liters of maternal milk… As this milk is very rich and nourishing, the « baby » will take 45 kilos per day !

It’s a real pleasure and a great emotion to see the mother playing with her progeny.

By the way, the whale only has a single baby every two years. The gestation period is of 11 to 12 months. It thus comes to give birth to the baby where it conceived it ! Even if it’s uncommon, it happens that some of them mate the same season as they drop.

As for males… In order to seduce females, they sing and jump out of the water. The whales having a very keen hearing (its main sense); they can hear song up to 35 kms !

The rivalry between these « sirs » is important, and they don’t dither to fight for a pretty female. The maximal number of « gentlemen » observed after a fertile female is of 25 ! ! !

At the end of their stay in the region, they go back towards the Far North where they’ll feed themselves. This is what we call it the feeding season. Every day, they regale themselves with a tone of « krill », a kind of small shrimps, and with small fishes. They don’t have teeth but they possess kind of big blades which were formerly used before invention of plastic, in the manufacturing of umbrellas and corsets.

Fortunately, nowadays whale watching is regulated. It is totally forbidden to dive with whales. So, to comply with these rules aiming to the respect of these wonderful animals, and for your own safety, it is strongly recommended to go only with recognized organizations having the necessary authorizations.

Humpback whale Samana Bay Humpback whale Samana Bay

Humpback whale Samana Bay Humpback whale Samana Bay

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