There was a lot of Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) activity this past weekend along the coast north of East London – three groups of whales were observed moving south past East London and two calves were observed lobtailing and adults were noted slapping their fins against the water.
Lobtailing in Humpbacks is more noticeable when sea conditions are rough. It is unusual for the species to be moving south so soon. Annual migrations to the South African coast take place in winter from their feeding grounds in the circumpolar regions (where they stock up of prey such as krill during the summer).
Humpbacks can grow to a length of 16 m and can weigh between 27-45 tons. Females are larger than males. The largest humpback recorded washed ashore at Moille Point, Cape Town on the 27th July 1995 and was estimated to weigh 59.4 tons. It was a male measuring 14.2 m.