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By Cindy Rodriguez

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Humpbacks may sing continuously for more than 24 hours. They have no vocal chords, so whales generate their song by forcing air through their massive nasal cavities. song. Why only males sing, is an enigma although it is thought the primary purpose is to flirt with and attract females. Yet many of the whales observed to approach a singer are other males, which can result in conflict. Singing may therefore be a challenge to other males. Some scientists suggest that the song may serve an echolocation function, like an underwater radar.

SpyHOppING The act of spyhopping involved less of the body being exposed than breaching (usually only up to about 50%). It is also differentiated from breaching by the fact that the whale will hold its position out of the water for a period. This serves similar purposes to those of breaching, but also allows the animal to get an idea of its surroundings. An orca is likely to spyhop in order to spot prey, such as seals. indd 43 11/10/2011 15:35 SHOW-OFFS LOBTAILING Whales are known for slapping their tails, or flukes, onto the surface of the ocean, creating a splash.

Off I snorkelled towards the somewhat distant shadows. I wasn’t sure that I could reach them but it wasn’t long before the calf turned and swam straight towards our small group. He felt distant but with no hesitation this time, I clicked away, twisting and turning trying to keep up with his movements. And then he was gone. It was over. No shadows, just the light trying to penetrate the gloomy water. It was brief but it didn’t matter, I had been elevated to a level of excitement that I didn’t know existed, apparently shared by the rest of the group.

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