The coast of Salvador da Bahia is a special place for hunchback whales. These marine giants visit the warm waters every year during the mating season.
July to November is the period when they leave the cold waters of Antarctica for the warm sea off Bahia, providing a formidable ‘show’ known as the baleiada.
Hunchback whales, which can reach a length of 16 meters and can weigh up to 40 metric tons, after mating or giving birth will then travel for nearly 4,500 km to return to Antarctica, where they spend most of the year, feeding on small crustaceans known as krill.
The work done to monitor and conserve hunchback whales in Brazilian waters, developed by the Hunchback Whale Institute, has helped to increase the numbers of this protected species
Local tourism agencies organize excursions out to sea to observe these animals. Before embarking visitors attend a speech at the Hunchback Whale Institute (Baleia Jubart) on the life of whales, their habits and the marine ecosystem. Visitors are also explained the procedures for whale watching.
When competing for the right to mate, bulls give an impressive show of power, strength and virility. Both bulls and cows are very vocal, but only the males emit the loud songs that have made this species so popular. It is not known whether the purpose of their song is mating or otherwise.
When whales emerge they expel air through their breathing hole, and the spurt can rise up to three meters. The first spurt is always a fine spectacle that precedes the emergence of the entire whale, jumping up into the air and performing whale-size somersaults. You can watch them in their natural habitat from the comfort of the boat.
The baleiada is a natural wonder, a great show to watch!
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