ALASKA HUMPBACK – HOODIE
Hundreds of Humpback whales can be found in Alaska’s Inside Passage waters, especially during the summer months. These magnificent marine mammals reach about 50 feet in length. They are baleen whales feeding on tiny krill and small fishes, oftentimes cooperatively with an amazing technique called bubble-netting.
They can often be seen at the surface breaching, spy hopping, tail slapping or flipper slapping. No one knows exactly why they perform spectacular leaps out of the water. Maybe it’s to impress a possible mate, to see where they’re at, or to rid themselves of parasites. I think they do it because it’s so much fun to make a gigantic splash.
Their scientific name Megaptera novaeangliae is derived from the Greek words “mega” meaning large and “pteron” meaning wing (referring to their long pectoral flippers which are one third of their total body length) and “novaeanglia” meaning New Englander because they were described from New England, in 1781.