The humpback whales have made their way back to “winter” in the Virgin Islands and a TON of pictures and videos have been surfacing of these gentle beasts frolicking about in the crystal clear waters surrounding us!
Adult humpback whales have up to a 10 inch layer of blubber that has formed over time which protects them from the chilly waters in their summer home of the North Atlantic. The adults, which get up to as large as 52 feet long, may opt to stay north during the winter months as the nutrient dense plankton that they call dinner is much more abundant there.
But, if the mature whales have calves (or they are expecting one!) the migration south is a necessity because the little guys don’t have that warm winter coat quite yet. Many adult whales who are expecting, or have a newborn in tow, will migrate south during the late winter months of January-March so that their babes can stay warmer while they develop the thick layer of fat that will keep them warm in the winters to come.
So, we get the pleasure of the company of these young families for a few short months out of the year. A few videos popped up in mid January of whales in the sound and then there was radio silence in the realm of whale sightings.
In late February, several posts to the public Facebook group “What’s Going on St. Thomas” announced that whales had been spotted on the north side of our big sister island…
Since the beginning of March, we have been hearing about more whale sightings almost daily!
Last week, Captain Ryan Matthews of On the Sea Charters took a group of STJ residents out in search of these gentle giants. Car barge deckhand, Tiger Leahu was on board and captured these majestic mammals in their element about a mile off Fish Bay. He told me they followed along with them at about 17 MPH for a good hour or so!
And Love City Excursions was lucky enough to happen upon the whales, yet again, this week.
I wish I could tell you how or where to find these elusive creatures. In nearly nine years of living on St. John, I have never been lucky enough to cast my gaze upon them. Even now, I’m on the water working on Asante almost daily. And no matter how long I scan the horizon line until my eyes hurt, I have yet to see them. Wish me luck as we hedge out of the season of the whales’ annual winter get away! I’m hoping the next round of pictures I share with you will be my own 🙂 And, if you’re on the sea in the VI over the next few weeks, keep your eyes fixed on the water in search of tails and water spouts!