Humpback Mothers and Calves
One of the most sought after images is one of a baby Humpback Whale swimming on top of it's mother's head. There is something very special about this powerful image and it makes the connection that the mother definately goes out of her way to care for the baby Humpback.
A female Humpback Whale generally reproduces every 2 to 3 years.
A baby Humpback Whale stays with it's mother for around 12 months and during that time the female Humpback feeds the calf on fat rich milk which makes the calf put on weight very quickly.
The female Humpback actively protects the calf from predators and also from male Humpback Whales who try to mate with her..
A baby Humpback whale learns quickly from it's mother with headlunging, breaching, tail slapping and pectoral slapping all behaviour I have observed both mother and calf participating in at the same time.
In a relaxed state you can often see a female Humpback whale slowly traveling through the water on her back and side slapping the water with her pectoral fin while her calf performs leaps and headlunges.
Usually you can predict where the head of a female Humpback is going to come out of the water by the actions of her calf allowing you to get ready for a photo of them together. The calf is usually over or near the mothers head.
On the high decks of whale watching vessels you can obtain wonderful photos on a calm day of a baby Humpback swimming above it's mother's head.
I once had a baby Humpback Whale over 15 feet long breach fully clear of the water not ten foot away from me in front of a boat's window I was standing at. It's tail was still trying to swim in the air before it fell back into the water. A "take your breath away moment".
Humpback Whales are curious whales and will often come to the boat and look at you.