Okinawa Tourism Information:Humpbackwhaleencounterrateis100%now!ZamamiIslandisrecommendedforwatchingdynamicbehaviorsofthewhales!Why?

Humpback whale encounter rate is 100% now! Zamami Island is recommended for watching dynamic behaviors of the whales! Why?

post : 2015.02.28 19:00

We introduce you a report of 95% humpback whale encounter rate with a video from Zamami Island at the beginning of the whale watching season last time.

Now in late February, it is the peak of the season, so you can encounter with humpback whales almost 100%!

“I want to see various actions including their big jump with my own eyes!”
“I want to take pictures and videos of the best moment!”
If you think so, what are you waiting for?  Please go to Zamami Island!

Zamami Island has Zamami Whale Watching Association, and you can directly go to the whale-infested waters within a shortest distance by whale watching ship departing from the island!

It is a happy news for those who tend to get seasick.
You don’t have to ride in a ship which roams in the vast ocean searching for whale-infested waters. 

Especially captains with more than 20 years’ experience have great skills, and they have been said to be one of the top class captains.
They are not only good at steering but also passionately love whales, so they have a perfect sense to understand the feeling of whales.

Specifically, let me show some examples of what kind of actions you can watch!

First, a “spy hopping” is when a whale rise straight up out of the water head first to see what is going on above the water.  If an experienced captain makes a good approach towards the whale or has a good chemistry with the whale, the marine animal has no stress with the presence of the ship or gets interested in it.  Then, you will enjoy more must-see behaviors of the whale!

In Zamami Island, people say “Takkuwari” in their dialect when a whale approaches towards the ship.

When a whale is relaxed, they may wave or slap the water with a pectoral fin in what is called a “peck slap.”  Isn’t it cute?

Actually during this season, whales has welcomed a rutting mating season.  Several male humpbacks develop the fight for one female humpback, so the whale watching ship may look like a rival and the whales get interested in and get closer to it.

If they are not nervous about the presence of the ship anymore, they develop the heated battle among the male whales.   

The above picture shows a “tail slap,” which serves as a threatening to the rivals.  This behavior consists of a whale raising its tail flukes out of water and slapping them forcefully on the surface of the water.

Another threatening behavior to bash other males during aggressive competition, is a “peduncle slap.”  A humpback whale thrashes the surface of the water by whipping its upraised flukes from side to side, which makes a big, resounding splash.  It is a considerably dynamic scene!

A humpback whale lunges or leaps partially out of the water, striking the underside of the chin forcefully on the surface of the water in what is called a “head slap,” which is also powerful!

A humpback whale does not directly attack the ship with the above-mentioned dynamic behaviors, so please don’t worry!

Everyone’s favorite behavior is a powerful acrobatic jump called a “breaching”!

A humpback uses its tail to launch itself out of the water.  With just a few pumps of its tail, the whaleback can propel its entire 30 to 40 ton- body into the air, landing back onto the surface with a resounding splash!

All the photos shown in this article were taken only for two days, which can tell that the encounter rate with these marvelous scenes is very high at Zamami Island.

If you would like to take a picture like this and meet high-spirited whales, the time is now!! 

Official Website for “Zamami Village Whale Watching Association”

Please here to read the previous article on whale watching.

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Hiroshi Kuwamura