Every day we see moms and calves, almost 50% of the groups we see contain a calf. Sometimes these calves will approach our boat with curiosity. If they do this, we will sit with our engines in neutral and wait and see what happens. Many times they will pass by once and then mom herds them away, but sometimes they will stay for a visit.
Today we had a small calf come very close and circle several times. Mom was nowhere to be seen, but we knew she was VERY close, just not surfacing. Here is a picture of the calf’s head. My captain said “parece un dinosaurio” “it looks like a dinosaur”. Those bumps on the head are called "tubercles", and are characteristic of humpback whales.
After a few minutes, mom finally surfaced underneath the calf and supported the calf on her head. She is just below the surface of the water.
Then the calf started to roll around on its back. Here is a picture of the calf on its back, belly up with its pectoral flipper in the air. Can you see where the eye is?
Eye of the calf
Here is that same photo zoomed in on the eye. It seems like the whale is looking right at us! These are definitely curious animals.
Finally after about five minutes of this, mom and calf left and the next time we saw them they were several hundred meters away. They seemed to be done with us, so we left them on their way and went to look for more whales.