Why are we seeing Whales around St. John?

Eighty percent of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale population migrate to the Silver Banks every year. This happens from January to April. The Silver Bank is a designated Marine Sanctuary.  It’s located 355 miles WNW from St John, between the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.

They go to the banks by the thousands to court, mate and calve each year  The majority of these whales stay in the deep water. The Puerto Rico Trench runs east to west and is the deepest spot in the Atlantic Ocean (The Mariana Trench is in the Pacific Ocean).  The trench is 497 miles long and 27,480 ft. at the deepest point. Locals call it the North Drop and it is within 20 miles on the North side of Pillsbury Sound. About eight miles south of St John is the South Drop. The water there is nearly 10,000 ft. deep.

Humpback Whales are active and are seen breaching out of the water, slapping the surfacing with their fins and tails in Pillsbury Sound. They play in the shallow 100 feet deep water of Pillsbury sound or as a cut through to the Caribbean Sea and South Drop.

Humpback Whales scientific name is Megaptera. They can travel around 80 miles per day or roughly 4 miles per hour. That does not seem fast, but they travel as far as 5000 miles to get there.

Living up to 90 years, so they make this trip every year in their lifetime. They grow up to 60 feet long and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. It takes up to 3000 pounds of food (mainly Krill and small fish) to keep them fed. The Humpback whale is a Baleen. This means they have baleen instead of teeth to filter the small fish from the seawater.  They return to the deeper colder water for feeding and storing blubber.

You can hear songs created and sung by male humpback whales up to 40 miles away. There is no need to get real close to them. Captains, please keep your distance. Federal laws, Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act state to observe whales from at least 100 yards away.

Below is a link to a very interesting video on the songs composed and sung by whales.

More information on the protection of whales can be found using the links below.

https://us.whales.org/whales-dolphins/what-is-baleen/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/humpback-whale

https://www.whalefacts.org/baleen-whales/