Guess who’s coming to dinner?
Humpback whales! I was having dinner at The Landing Beach Bar at Cane Bay with my family when I noticed some of the staff and customers were standing up and intently peering out over the water. I happened to turn around in my seat just in time to see something breach the water off in the distance. We started discussing amongst our table whether it might be a pod of dolphins when a HUGE tail came up out of the water. There was a pod of humpback whales frolicking in the beautiful blue Caribbean waters of Cane Bay! We sat mesmerized with many of the other customers and staff members for next half hour watching the whales as they sprayed saltwater out of their blowholes, and lifted their massive flukes (tails) out of the water. It was amazing!
During the late winter months, especially between February and March, humpback whales migrate along St. Croix’s north coast in the Puerto Rico Trench. Humpback whales migrate through the Caribbean to the warm tropical waters in the winter to give birth to new calves and mate. Then, in February and March they migrate back to the colder waters up north where they hunt for food (krill, plankton and small fish) passing between the Virgin Islands along the way.
Lucky residents and visitors get to hear their enchanting songs while diving or snorkeling…and a very lucky few get to see them up close and personal in the water! Adult humpback whales are approximately 35 to 50 feet long and can weigh up to 65 tons. Humpback whales have dark grey bodies and the most obvious identifying characteristics of humpback whales are their fins. The fins are about one-third the length of the whale’s body, and are mostly white. Humpback whales also have white markings on their tail.
St. Croix has dolphins year round, and the humpback whales make their appearance seasonally, but we also get the occasional whale shark, manta ray and even an orca or two (killer whale) thanks to the depth of the water in the Puerto Rico Trench. So, keep your eyes (and ears) open…you never know when they might decide to swim by!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor