Bubbles Up!

07-19-2012

By Ruth, Steward, Safari Quest

Last week we witnessed humpback whales bubblenet feeding. It was my first time and it was pretty amazing. We guessed the pod was about twelve in number as we counted their flukes diving back down into the water.

Bubblenet Feeding

Bubblenet feeding

Our Expedition Leader Brock dropped the hydrophone into the water and we were able to listen to the whales give each other signals. We could almost time the moment they would burst out of the water by listening for the telltale “dinner bell” noise.

The hydrophone is used to listen to underwater sounds.

And afterwards, as if in celebration of their successful meal - we saw three of the whales breach in a row.

Breaching Humpback

The humpback breaches as if in celebration!

A little bit of background information: Humpback whales, a species of baleen whale, feed primarily in summer and live off fat reserves during winter. They are said to have the most diverse feeding repertoire of all baleen whales. Their most inventive technique is known as bubble net feeding; a group of whales swims in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below a school of prey. The shrinking ring of bubbles encircles the school and confines it in an ever-smaller cylinder. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the "net," mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp.



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