Saturday, June 25, 2016

Whale Watching, 2016, Puerto Lopez,Ecuador

It's that time of year – when the humpback whales come from the antarctic to the equator!! 

Every year around June, the humpback whales take a trip to the warmer waters around the equator. While here, they have babies and mate. The gestation period is 11-12 months, and the babies are 13-16 feet long at birth, growing quickly. After the babies are born and the next bun is in the oven, they head back to cooler waters and eat until time to come back to the warm, equatorial waters and do it all again

While the females are busy giving birth and taking care of the new calves, the males tend to put on spectacular displays of high breaching acrobatics and tail slapping meant to attract the females for mating.

I went out today looking for some whales. I was not disappointed, but once the season starts, the whales are everywhere. They've been seen close to shore, where people can watch them from upper stories of houses at times. The local fishermen task one person to watch for the whales this time of year. They say one would have to work hard to be on a boat and not see at least one pod of whales!

On the way out, we went past Gorilla Rock.

We didn't see any breaching males, but we did see several pods of cows and calves. I took the waterproof camera, so I got a lot of shots of water – just after the whales breached. But I did manage to get a few good ones.

One tail slap, and I missed it!

But, I did get a few of the mammas and babies coming up for air and some nice tails as they were smoothly returning to the water.

This camera won't allow zooming while it's shooting video. These clips should show you just how close we got.

After watching whales, we headed to Isla Salango for some snorkeling. I saw some wrasses, damsels, and tangs, but this is not reef snorkeling, so there isn't such a huge variety. Unfortunately, the water was too murkey today to get any decent pictures underwater.

So, a little swim to the island was in order. It's a beautiful island, and you can see the black, volcanic sand mixed in with the bleached sand.

Some lovely rocky spots with lots of crabs hanging out.

It was a long swim back when they called us back to the boat. We were the last ones back, and they wouldn't break out the food until everybody was on board.

It was definitely a great day, and this is an activity I will miss when we leave Puerto Lopez. I do hope to see these guys again (and their cousins) when we get to Tierra del Fuego!


  1. Watching whales must be really awesome. To see such huge creatures up close and personal must be a once in a lifetime treat. The size of a baby whale is amazing, and I know that mature whales weigh several tons. To be able to see a whale jump out of the water like a dolphin would be great!

    Justin @ San Juan Sail Charter

  2. It truly is awesome! When the male humpbacks jump, they come almost straight up with a magnificent display and splash back down on their backs. This is done to impress the females. But, it is awesome to just see them breach and go back, similar to how dolphins do.