The Blue Whales, also known as Humpbacks or Hector’s Hatched Baby, are now returning to Spain after a long absence.
In fact, it has been almost 40 years since the last sighting of Blue Whales in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Morocco. There is little doubt that they are now headed for Spain. This is good news not only for the whale species but also for Spain, which is one of the last frontiers of the planet facing the threats of over-exploitation from the deep blue ocean waters of the Southern Ocean.
When the first Blue whales set sail for home waters, they left behind their young and had already given their parents a chance to return. This group of about nine or ten whales is believed to be the largest group ever recorded leaving their nursery grounds in the Southern Ocean. They were likely headed for a much longer journey south to the place where they would stay for the winter. For months they traveled south through the warm currents of the warm Pacific Ocean and finally came upon the area of the Grand Bassa Island in the Southern Caribbean. This is where the whales stayed during the winter and it is from here that they returned in the spring.
There has been much speculation on the exact journey of the blue whales through the warm waters of the southern Caribbean. Some have said that they went as far as Argentina before heading towards Spain. Whales have been sighted in the waters around Costa Rica and even as far away as Patagonia. These sightings have been said to be yet confirmed. While there have been no recorded sightings of the whales in the Atlantic Ocean, they have been sighted in the Pacific Ocean and as far south as New Zealand and Southern California.
During their long journey south, the Blue Whales became very mellow in appearance and was seldom seen by people on land. Their presence was only discovered when the ships sailing along the coast noticed them huddled together on the water’s surface. The whale’s dorsal fin became the first recognizable part of their body. It appears that the whales lost this appendage over the years as the currents moved with the changing ocean tides. This loss has left them with reduced hearing and sight abilities and makes them even more difficult to locate with sonar.
The last known whale sighting in the Southern hemisphere was in 1966 when about seven whales returned to the Canary Islands from a three-year absence. Although the exact location was not pinpointed, it was found that these whales returned to a more southern location. Since then, there have been no reported whale activity in the Mediterranean. This has led many to conclude that the phenomenon is a recent occurrence and is due to the depletion of the Southern Right Whale population.
Experts believe that the number of the whales increasing since the last recorded sighting. The increase may be due to increased fishing in the region, which coincides with the whale’s annual migration. Fishing boats also increase their presence in the area at this time of the year in search of the blue whales. Another possible reason for the increase in whale activity is the construction and rebuilding of hydroelectric dams along the Mediterranean Sea. These structures act as barriers to ocean currents and may serve to increase the whale’s numbers in the waters.
With increased whale presence, researchers have become especially interested in studying the behavior and movements of these majestic creatures. A major focus of their studies has been related to determining the best time to go whale watching in Mediterranean waters. Because the Southern Right Whale is the most likely to spend the winter migrations, it is thought that catching this species during that time will be optimal for seeing these amazing sea creatures.
Blue whales are among the most elusive mammals in the world. Even when you consider them to be part of the whale species, they are still far too mysterious for us humans to even know what they look like or how they move. Because of this, it is advised to take a boat on your trip to observe the whales, but you should not come into contact with them. It is also important to remember that although these creatures can be seen, there is no sure way of tracking down a specific whale. Whales may be rarer than we think, but their population is still unpredictable.
This is why people should always take precautions when planning to go whale watching in Mediterranean waters.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.