The Humpback Whale spout or blow is a result of the whale breathing. Because the whale spends long periods underwater the air in the resulting release when spouting is under massive pressure and can rise up to 13 feet (4 metres) into the air.
Scientists seem to think a Humpback Whale can spend up to 15 minutes underwater however whale watching operators report Humpbacks staying underwater for at least 30 minutes.
The lungs of a Humpback Whale are the size of a small car and when the whale breathes it will exchange up to 90% of it’s lung capacity. The blow can exit the whale at 300 - 500 kilometres per hour.
When photographing Humpback Whales I have had a whale spout in my face, that close it can blow your hair back and it does not smell nice, the spray that comes out of it’s lungs contains oil which will blur the camera’s lense. I suppose you could say that a Humpback Whale has “bad breath”.
When a whale submerges after breathing there is usually a smooth texture on the surface of the water causing the water to take on a smooth texture compared to the water around that area the whale submerged.
The Humpback Whales spouts (blow) is how modern day whale watching vessels locate and arrive where the whale is. The best way to look for a Humpback Whale is to keep your eye on the waters horizon, not anywhere in between
By looking at the horizon you can usually spot a Humpback Whales spout.
The spout is also the way old and modern whalers find whales to kill them. In one way it is the whales downfall giving away it’s position to both friendly and non friendly humans.