This week marks the beginning of Colombia’s annual whale watching season with up to 3,000 humpback whales expected to descend on the nation’s Pacific Coast.
The annual pilgrimage of 8,000 kilometers will see whales flock from the icy waters of Antartica to the country’s western shoreline.
More than 35,000 tourists are expected to swarm the region to get a glimpse of some of the world’s most majestic creatures.
Enthusiasts will get a chance to see whales jumping and playing in the water while listening in to the melodies that males use to seduce their female counterparts. Their echoes, which can travel up to 25 kilometers underwater, are said to last for hours on end.
The season, which officially kicks off at the start of June and lasts until September, has also already had sightings with a pod of whales spotted close to Gorgona Island, roughly 35 kilometers from the mainland.
“In Gorgona, since last weekend we had a report of humpback whales,” said Ximena Zorilla, Chief of the National Natural Park (PNN) in Gorgona. “Fishermen visiting the protected area told us that a group was sighted traveling towards the northern part of the Colombian Pacific.”
Between July and August, the largest number of whales are expected to arrive close to the coast for mating purposes.
Uramba Bay, Malaga, Gorgona and Utria Parks along with the beaches of Flores, Coqui, Arusi, Juanchaco and Ladrilleros are expected to be whale-watching hot spots, according to a PNN report.
Scientists will also descend on the region to study what National Geographic calls the “most complex” song in the animal kingdom.
Humpback whales, which can grow to 20 meters and weigh up to 40 tons – the same size as a bus – feed on krill, plankton and other small fish and despite their massive size, migrate further than any other mammal on earth.