Brief Story of the Whale Watching in the Kerama Islands
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.
Every year from January to April,humpback whales return to the warm and gentle waters of the Kerama to breed. In these waters they mate, and give birth the following winter. When the calves become strong enough to return to the northernocean, they begin the journey with their mothers. Ofen, another whale accompanies the mother and calf. In most case, a male whale attaches himself to them as an "escort". This escort is waiting for a chance to mate with the female whale.
The activities of whales in the ocean near the Kerama islands are related to mating. One sees groups of male whales called "mating pods". Around the female whales, the male whales compete against one another. there are times when the battle is so fierce that a whale is injured.
Also during this period whales sing "songs". The whales that sing these songs are called "singers", and will sometimes ocntinue singing for hours. These songs are often sung during the mating season so it has been said, might not these love-songs?
Although whales live in the ocean, they are not fish but mammals. There are 76 variety of whales which are divided into 2 groups. "Toothed whales" include 66 varieties such as sperm whales,killer whales and dolphins. They eat mainly fish and squid but killer whales also eat other small creatures. There are also 10 variety of "baleen whales" which include humpbacks and blue whales. Baleen whales eat plnkton and samll fish which they strain through their baleen plates.
Blue whales are the largest creatures in the world. Some grow to 25 times the size of an elephant. with a length of 34 meters and a weight of 190 tons ! Whales use songs and sounds to communicate with each other, just as humans communicate with words. Using organs in their head,whales can determine their own location and the shapes of other creatures through sonar.
Here in the Kerama, humpback whales sing "songs". Their singing can be heard underwater from a distance of 30 kirometers. By all means, come and hear their musical love songs with your own ears ! The Kerama islands invite you to experience the thrill of whale watching ! Come and see humpback whales in their natural environment and hear their beautiful "love songs".
(From the information guide published by Kerama Zamami Tourist Information Office)