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Tail lobs and competitive humpback whale behaviour

March 17, 2007 Written by

Location: The Canyon, San Benedicto Island (Socorro Island)

Comments: Captain Dave confirms that one of our guests really did see 100 schooling silvertip sharks at The Canyon at San Benedicto Island (Socorro Island) yesterday!!! WOW!!  AMAZING!  They spent most of today at The Boiler and sighted a total of 4 giant manta rays, 2 of which were very interested in our divers.   Guests were also entertained with 2 fairly small galapagos sharks (6 feet in length) circling repeatedly around the pinnacle in addition to a large number of jacks and the usual cast of characters (lobster, sub-tropical fish, etc).  The unpredictable variability of these dive sites never fails to amaze us as The Boiler was very quiet for all of the last trip.  But when it’s hot, it can be really, really hot.   A group of guests also went out in a skiff to get a closer look at 4 adult humpback whales and 1 juvenile and were rewarded with 15 minutes of dramatic tail lobs  (smacking their tails on the ocean surface).   While tail lobs can be a “back off” message directed at humans, or a “let’s get together guys and stay close”, it seemed much more likely that there was some male to male competitive behaviour going on here.  Tis the season at Socorro Island for humpback whales to mate and breed!!

Weather: Clear skies, wind from the north 5 to 10 knots, low ocean swell of 3 to 4 feet, air temperature a balmy 79°F

Water: Visibility 150 feet, water temperature reported as 74°F.

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