A good place for whale-watching – humpback whales on St Helena
They’re here! The Humpback whales are back in St Helena’s warm waters once again, visiting us from July through to November/December.
(Pic courtesy of Neil Fantom)
I remember being 10 years old walking out from the swimming pool with a friend along the seafront (it’s what you do on St Helena as kids – practically live at the swimming pool), when we saw this strange looking black thing that resembled a tail just randomly sticking out of the water in the shallow waters of James Bay.
It was there for at least 15 minutes, which of course feels like a lifetime to a 10 year old. None of us could figure out just what it was until good old Charlie sitting on the seaside bench overheard our questions & saw our frowny faces told us that the whale was 'calfing' - now I believe this is not quite the technical term but rather a local 'Saint' term which means it was actually a whale resting/ feeding its young. Of course, we just accepted this explanation and moved along with the rest of our day - as you do as kids. But what a strange phenomena now that I come to think of it.
After doing a little digging around on the internet, some further research suggests that basically, the whale was resting up-side-down in the water getting some much needed break from nursing which is also known as ‘tail-sailing’ in proper whale speak.
These humpback whales seem to love St Helena waters as they come here every year without fail with their young. I guess our waters are just like our island: - safe & warm.
St Helena is a haven for many marine animals and has an amazing story to tell. We are a sub-tropical island whose warm waters mean that we have dolphins all year round, devil rays, visiting Whalesharks (Dec - March), the seasonal Humpback whales and so much more.
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