What You’re Really Seeing When You Go Whale Watching

Hint: It’s kind of like speed dating.

1. So when you go whale watching, there is some degree of waiting.

2. And then all of the sudden you’re like, HOLY CRAP A SPLASH AND IT CAME OUT OF NOWHERE AND WHAT THE HELL!

Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed

3. Then a gray mass comes out of nowhere again (except not really nowhere because you are in his territory so back off).

Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed

4. And nothing is left behind but a big ol’ whale footprint…

Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed

5. …until he’s back 15 minutes later and it’s kind of terrifying but also exhilarating because you’re seeing a giant.

Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed
Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed

7. But once he slips under what is he doing?? Playing?? Just breathin’? Just being his whale self?

Chelsea Marshall for Buzzfeed

8. Luckily, we had a few experts on board to explain to us what the hell was going on down there.

Chelsea Marshall for BuzzFeed

On the left is Paul Atkins, cinematographer for Nat Geo WILD special WILD Hawaii and on the right, humpback whale expert, Joseph Mobley. The special premieres March 23 at 8 p.m. ET.

9. Turns out, when a whale comes up to say “hey” he’s not exactly just saying “hey.”

10. This splash meant business time.

11. We were actually witnessing a “heat run” where a mama whale and her calf are just hanging out, migrating, ya know, the usual, and she is accompanied by an escort.

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13. Behind the duo is a line of other whales just biding for their chance to take the escort’s spot.

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14. So, while cool to us, this is actually a whale showing off his bravado to the other whales and the hot WMILF*.

*Whale version of “MILF” obviously

15. This ol’ thing? Just a regular one-two punch in whale terms.

16. There’s a massive wind-up and then…

17. …BOOM! This one probably really wanted to be the escort du jour.

National Geographic / Wild Hawaii

18. It’s basically a speed dating line where the men put on their figurative boxing gloves and duke it out over females.

(Basically the worst case scenario for a dating scene IMO.)

19. “I have seen whales strike another whale so hard that it literally lifts the other’s body out of the water!”

National Geographic / Wild Hawaii

Joseph cited this amazing instance as well as several others. Basically, they have tons of moves: Ramming one another (called “strikes”), aggressive-sounding blows, and even inflating their throats so their body appears larger.

20. Personally, I wanted to know if the female had a say in any of this, but even the top experts are still trying to decipher the subtle signals of the female.

My guess is the males DGAF ‘cause, ugh, men.

21. Like this lady just had a baby and they won’t leave her the eff alone.

22. Joseph said that when the female gets sick of the men (WHO CAN BLAME HER?), she will hide under a boat to avoid them.

http://J.R. Mobley , obtained under NOAA permit #810

Taking hiding from an unwelcome suitor at a dating event to a whole new level here.

23. So next time you’re lucky enough to see these giants…

Chelsea Marshall for BuzzFeed

24. You now know they are in the middle of some very serious business time.

25. Probs very similar to this:


http://J.R. Mobley , obtained under NOAA permit #810

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