As of December 15, the official Humpback Whale watching season begins in Zihuatanejo, Gro. Do not miss the opportunity to see these mammals, which migrate by traveling thousands of kilometers from the Arctic to warm places in the Pacific Ocean (like our beautiful port) with the aim of mating and reproducing. It is estimated that around 80 whales will arrive with their young, which will be distributed in 27 kilometers of the Guerrero coast, from Barra de Potosí to the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, according to the Whales of Guerrero Research Project about last year’s season.
They reach the beaches of Baja California and then go to Guerrero where they feed in order to promote the growth of calves.
The humpback whale, also called yubarta, is a species of mysticete cetacean in the family Balaenopteridae (fin whales). It is one of the largest fin whales, adults are 12 to 16 m long and weigh approximately 36,000 kg. The species has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobby head. It is an acrobatic animal that frequently propels itself over the surface and then hits the water. The males emit a complex song, which lasts from ten to twenty minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the chant is unclear. However, it appears to play a role in mating.
Humpbacks are also very good pack hunters. When a pod is on the hunt, some members will blow air bubbles around a school of feeder fish, trapping them in a rough cylinder. Other members will continue to collect more fish in the cylinder, while another group of herd members will circulate underneath, making sure no fish escape from the bottom. Once the cylinder has been sufficiently compacted, the whales will swim along its length, swallowing the feeder fish. Humpbacks generally feed completely in the summer months, and live for most of their fat stores during the winter.
Humpback whales belong to the baleen wheel family, which have a series of curtain-like filters in their mouths instead of teeth. Moving through clouds of krill or shoals of smaller fish, they suck in large amounts of water, then push the water out through their baleens, trapping the krill inside. Sometimes humpbacks hit the surface of the water with their flippers or pectoral fins to stun their prey with the shock wave.
Whale watching (seeing some of the largest animals on Earth in their natural habitat) is an exciting activity that you cannot miss.