Whale Season in Galapagos, Ecuador and Northern Peru

August 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

Humpback Whale near the Coast of Ecuador

Humpback Whale near the Coast of Ecuador

Each summer humpback whales migrate thousands of miles from Antarctica following the Humboldt Current to reach the warm waters of Northern Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and even as far north as Costa Rica and Panama. These humpbacks spend the majority of the year in the cooler environment of Antarctica where they feed yet in a yearly even they return to these warmer waters for a few months to mate and give birth.

A full grown humpback may grow to between 40 – 50  feet (16 meters) and can way 40 tons (36,000 kilos).   Though both sexes vocalize the male of the species is known for producing the famous whale songs in order to attract a mate.  Each song may last between 10 and 30 minutes and a single male is known to sing for periods up to 24 hours.

During the 18th and 19th and early 20th Centuries whales were hunted to a level of near extinction.  The Galapagos Islands were a favorite hunting ground of whalers where they would come and kill these graceful swimmers as well as stock up on fresh tortoise meat for their voyage home.

In 1966 the International Whaling Commission banned commercial humpback whaling to prevent the species extinction which at the time was estimated around 5,000.   Today some 30,000 – 40,000 whales are thought to exist today globally.

Viewing humpbacks is a spectacular site. Humpbacks are are both active and acrobatic  – they are known to breach throwing themselves completely out of the water as well as swim on their backs with their flippers in the air, tail lobbing where they raise their tails out of the water than slap it on the surface and flipper slapping – slapping their flippers on the water surface. Viewing these graceful animals in the wild is an awe inspiring event that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

The best places to see whales are the Bolivar Canal between Isabela and Fernandina, off the coast of San Cristobal, near Mancora on the coast of Peru or in Manabi Provence on the Coast of Ecuador.

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