Since the turn of the century, we have focused our attention on preserving the planet, all too aware of the pressing climate change issues and the whale population is one of the success stories to come out of this period. Whales use the entire planet and have complex migration routes that cross the major oceans, and if you are interested to learn more about the migration routes of whales, here is a brief overview.
- The Humpback Whale – The Humpback Whale was almost hunted to extinction until we banned the hunting of these majestic creatures in 1966, and has made a remarkable comeback. There is a huge industry of whale watching in Sydney, where you can book a spot on one of the whale watching vessels, and you can observe the surface behavior of the Humpback Whales, as they travel to and from the Antarctic waters, depending on the time of year. All of the oceans are his domain and regarding the southern hemisphere, they generally use the cold Antarctic waters to feed on krill and small fish, while preferring to give birth in the warm tropical waters off the coast of Queensland, where they raise their calves until they are strong enough to make the trip back along the Australian coast, and the migration takes place on both the East and West coasts of Australia, with perhaps the west side along Melbourne and Brisbane seeing more whales that the other routes. The Humpback Whale lives to be 80-90 years old and a female would reproduce perhaps 30 times in a lifetime.
- Minke Whales – The smallest and most common of the baleen whales, which grow to a maximum of 9 metres and weigh in at between 6-7 tons. The Minke Whale can be seen alone or with several other animals, and they favour the same route as the Humpbacks, passing Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, all of which run whale watching trips. While not as plentiful as the Humpback Whale, there’s still a good chance you would see one if you went out from Sydney in a whale watching vessel. The average lifespan of a Minke Whale is 30-50 years, although some do reach 60.
- The Blue Whale – The largest of all creatures on our planet, the Blue Whale can weigh as much as 190 tons, with a length of close to 30 metres, and being the giant it is, the Blue Whale was also subjected to continuous hunting, and much like the Humpback, the Blue Whale has made a healthy recovery. In the northern hemisphere, Blue Whales feed in the warm waters of the West Coast of the US, and when migrating, they can be seen off the coast of Washington as they head up to the Aleutian Islands then onto the Gulf of Alaska. The southern species also frequent the warm waters along the West Coast of Australia while travelling down to Antarctica. Similar to the Humpback, the Blue Whale can be expected to live from 80-90 years and since whaling has been banned, animals are now reaching these old ages.
Of course, there many species of whale and of you happen to be in Sydney, why not take advantage on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a bit of whale watching? You certainly won’t regret it.