Humpback whales fight over females 

HOME Whale and Dolphin Travel
Vol. 005

Humpback whales fight over females

Date taken
February - March 2016


This is the third day of my stay in Zamami and today is the last day.
Yesterday, we went to the observatory in Inasaki by rented bicycles, but got soaked in the heavy rain in the afternoon.
Actually, if it hadn't been raining so hard, we would have been able to get a ride on the 4:00 p.m. Escort last night, but since last night's whale watching was cancelled, we have to take the 10:00 a.m. Queen Zamami back to Naha today. However, Captain Sano arranged for an extra escort boat to be sent out at 7:00 in the morning.This way, after the whale-watching, we could take the Queen Zamami at 10:00 a.m. and head straight for Naha Port as planned. I can't thank you enough for your help.

However, the first thing I was worried about was whether or not the watching boat would be able to make it out due to last night's stormy weather. Moreover, even if the escorts were able to sail safely, we were also worried about whether we would be able to meet the humpback whales.
As soon as we met Captain Sano at the harbor, he gave us the go-ahead! He told us that Mr. Migration had been at the Inasaki observatory since early morning to check the location of the humpback whales.
Mr. Migration drove up from Inasaki, and we were finally ready to set sail.

After leaving the harbor, we must have been driving for about 10 minutes when we spotted a humpback whale blowing! We rushed to the scene.
As soon as we shut off the engine, the whale's clicking sound and chirping "whump, whump" echoed from the sea.
It's not one whale. According to the captain, there are four whales: two males, a female, and a calf.

(The tail of the humpback whale rises. The Escort and Captain Sano are heading for the scene.)

Humpback whales are not monogamous; after one female has successfully given birth, there is a fight among the males for the female's second mating right (escort). The male whale who successfully wins the escort position is responsible for helping the mother and calf until they become one with the female.
It doesn't matter if the boat is nearby or not, the males are so absorbed in the fight that they don't seem to notice anything else. This is the best part of whale watching because of the flamboyant action, but it is rare to come across such a scene.

"It must have been the strength of Mr Kiriu's feelings that brought him here!"

Captain Sano says some nice things about me, but I don't have time for that.
Barking, blowing, rocking of the boat. We wondered where the whales would come up amidst all the noise. One minute it's to the right, the next to the left, and on and on it goes. No need for words at this point, let's just look at the pictures first.

Humpback whales are not monogamous. When a female finishes giving birth, there is a battle over the female's next husband.
The scene of the fight is called the mating pod. And the male whale who won the seat of the next husband is Escort.

I don't think you can tell from the pictures what is going on, but I think you can tell that it is intense.
In the last photo, the defeated one is moving away, and I, too, will be returning to Naha after this voyage, and from there to Osaka.

I can't thank you enough for all the trouble you have caused me during my three visits to Zamami. I don't know when I will be able to visit Zamami again, but I hope to see you again.
Lastly, I would like to thank Captain Sano, his wife, and the crew of the boat,Mr. Migration, for going along with my selfishness until the very end and giving me a great opportunity to experience humpback whales.
If you are interested, please check out the following website, where I have uploaded an amateur video of our whale watching trip to Zamami.