Whales

Whale watching has become popular in the waters of the Zamami Islands, the group of land outcroppings that can be seen in the western horizon from Naha Port. As more people have come to observe the gentle giants, the Zamami Village government last year formed a Whale Watching Society, headed by Mayor Seitaro Miyazato, in order to set policies regarding peaceful observation and tourism promotion.

The aquarium section personnel at Expo Memorial Park and the World Wide Fund for Nature, Japan Committee have independently carried out research on the whales for a few years. Sightings by both groups then totaled fifty-two whales off the Zamami Islands, with some of the great mammals making a repeat visit this year.

Highschool students from mainland Japan have made study tours to observe the whales, and they enjoy the surprise when the whales surface and spout water from their blowholes.

About ten years ago,island fishermen reported seeing whales in the area. Then the humpback whales have returned to the Kerama,where they once were hunted. Foer several years the number of whales migrating to the Kerama gradually increased. Current from February to March every year,many boats (departed from Naha and each islands) is used for whale watching around the Kerama islands.
 Study of Humpback Whales in Japanese Waters WWF Japan supported a survey of humpback whales in Japanese waters from 1988 to 1995. The survey was initiated by a Canadian scientist, Dr.James Darling, with help of Japanese volunteers. He used a method to identify animals by photo identification. Shapes and pattern of flukes of each humpback whale is different like human's finger prints. The purposes were to study status of the species in Northwestern Pacific Ocean and to introduce the method to Japan.
At present in the oceans of our earth there are seventy-six varieties of whales and dolphins comprised of sixty-six kinds of toothed whales and ten varieties of baleen whales. Among those that can have confirmed sightings in the seas off Okinawa are nineteen varieties of toothed whales and seven varieties of baleen whales. One of the most frequently sighted among the baleen whales is the Humpback. The Humpback Whales in the Pacific
In order to win females to pair up with as mates, male whales engage in repeated fierce battles amongst themselves. At certain times as many as two to eight males will accompany one female. The male humpbacks do this to propagate their species and for them it is serious business, but for whale-watchers it is a chance to have an unforgettable experience viewing this dramatic behavior. The seas off Zamami Island are mating seas for the humpback and in contrast to other sea areas, such as feeding seas where such behavior as bubble net fishing can be seen, the Zamami seas are where visitors can come to watch their mating pod behavior.
Humpbacks usually congregate in small groups of one to four but gather in much larger groups when they are in the seas where they feed. Humpback Whales are popular among whale-watchers because of their dynamic performances. Whale Singing
 by Senzo Uchida Humpback Whale