FEEMP / VINE

Have you seen the whales?

You’ve heard the rumors, right?  There are several humpbacks whales hanging out just north of St. Croix.   They’ve been featured in the Avis—

humpback at St. Croix by Michelle Stone Dive Experience

And it’s all over Facebook:

A humpback breathes at the surface between St. Croix and Buck Island.

A humpback breathes at the surface between St. Croix and Buck Island.

Maybe you’ve even heard them singing?

Click here to download audio files. 
But what do we really know about humpbacks?

Humpback whales breach--they jump out of the water and fall back into it.  Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Humpback whales breach–they jump out of the water and fall back into it. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

 

The humpback whale is a large marine mammal well-known for its singing and long migrations.  As a baleen whale, this huge mammal feeds almost entirely on tiny crustaceans that they filter from the sea water.  They sometimes use a group technique to force krill and small fish to the surface called bubbling!

Humpback whales have the longest migration path of any mammal on earth!  The Atlantic humpbacks travel near the Virgin Islands during winter.  In the summer, the whales head back to cool, northern waters off the coast of New England.

A pod of humpback whales travel in shallow tropical waters.  Photo courtesy of ARKive.

A pod of humpback whales travel in shallow tropical waters. Photo courtesy of ARKive.

You can learn more about humpback whales at NOAA’s Marine Mammal page  or at National Geographic.
On island, try snorkeling or diving within the St. Croix East End Marine Park to hear the whales caroling in the distance! Have you seen any humpbacks lately?

Becoming a Friend of the East End Marine Park supports education about whales and other marine creatures.  Find out more at www.friendsofstxeemp.org.

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