Many people have heard recordings of humpback whale song, but only a fortunate few have actually seen a whale in the water while it's singing.
We were lucky yesterday, coming across a relatively large singer that wasn't terribly fussed about having us around.
Large humpback whale singer at depth
There was a catch though. It was kinda deep, like 20+ metres at the fluke, and the visibility was horrible. Oh yeah...the seas were sloppy too, just to make it more interesting.
Locating a whale that's so far down in bad viz isn't easy, even when you know where the animal dived. Sound travels rapidly in all directions in the water, so it's challenging (boy, what an understatement!) to zero-in on the source of a particular sound even in good conditions.
Singer surfacing for air
We had a bit of help though, as this singer had a prominent white patch right at the center of its fluke, so you could just barely make it out if you were directly overhead.
Swim a few metres left or right…and the whale would disappear…so even though we followed this individual for four-to-five cycles, we were only able to locate it on two of those occasions.
See the white patch in the center of the fluke?
Below is a short video clip of the singer, so you can experience what it's like to pay a quick visit to a melodic Megaptera up close.
Feel free to sing along if the mood strikes you.