Humpback whale

Megaptera novaeangliae

In 2011 a humpback whale was spotted with a buoy and net caught around its tail. The Tristan search and rescue team where quick to respond and succeeded in setting the whale free.

Humpback whale © Andy Schofield
Humpback whale © Andy Schofield

The humpback whale can be seen breaching out of the water with its long elegant, arm like flippers splashing as it falls grabbing your attention.

Being a migratory whale, they can travel up to 16,000 miles each year between their mating and feeding grounds. Commonly seen around Tristan during the warmer months between September – March, during its migration south to feed in Antarctic waters. Male humpbacks have impressive whale songs that can be heard during the mating season which occurs around December – May. With the average gestation period of 11 – 12 month the whale will travel to a warmer safer place to raise its young before starting the long trip back to its feeding grounds.

IUCN Status – Least concern

Length – Up to 18m

Weight – Up to 35 tons

Reproduction – Every 2-3 years

Sightings around Tristan islands – Common during September – March

Marine life on Tristan

The waters surrounding the Tristan islands are home to a diverse range of fish and invertebrates, including the commercially valuable crayfish.