Humpback WhaleWhile humpbacks have a global presence, time spent in Antarctica is important for these massive mammals. The krill-laden waters around Antarctica make it the perfect place to feed during the summer months. It’s easy to identify the humpback thanks to its distinctive body shape that includes long pectoral fins and a knobby head. Known for acrobatics, they’re particularly fun to watch from a nearby boat, as they breach and slap the water with their fluke and pectoral fins.
The humpback gets its name from its habit of raising and bending its back in preparation for a dive, accentuating the hump in front of the dorsal fin. My favorite encounter with humpbacks in Antarctica was when I was sitting in the observation lounge and suddenly the captain called out. We found ourselves in the middle of a massive pod of humpbacks, dozens of them rising in and out of the water like a well-choreographed ballet. It was a beautiful sight and one that I know I will remember for the rest of my life.