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Humpback whale-watching in Bahia
On a small sea-going open boat, get up close to the benign humpback whale to watch a magnificent display of joie de vivre.
The humpback whale is one of the larger species; adults range in length from a whopping 12–16 m and weigh around 25–40 metric tons. That’s about the same as two or three double-decker buses. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. To the delight of whale watchers, it is prone to breach the surface with abandon.
Found in oceans and seas all around the world, they migrate up to 25,000km each year. They feed in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters such as those which lap the coast of Bahia ion Brazil to breed and give birth, fasting and living off their fat reserves.
The humpback used to be a target for the whaling industry: this was prohibited in 1966 but by that time their numbers had fallen by 90%. Nowadays it’s estimated there are 80,000 of them.
Following an orientation talk, participants on whale-watching tours embark a vessel to head to waters where it is known the whales roam in season (July – September). You have a good chance (90%) of seeing one: curious, they exhibit innumerable jumping behaviours and spontaneously approach the boats.