What is a Humpback Pec Slap?

What is a Humpback pec slap? A pec slap can be performed by many cetacean species but the Humpback Whales version is always spectacular as they have the longest pectoral fin of any whale or dolphin species. Lying on their side and gently lifting the pectoral upwards it is then forced back down onto the oceans surface leaving behind a loud thud and plenty of white water. Pec slapping is a very flirty and friendly part of the Language of the Whales and is often used to attract attention towards themselves. Today that was exactly what we observed as a pod of two young adults called out to see who else was in the vicinity. Mothers and calves moved away from the area to avoid being noticed as the adults continued to pec slap away and soon they had a response.

A very young yearling Humpback had noticed the commotion and ventured towards the pod with much interest. The adults allowed the youngster to join with them briefly but soon diverted away as they were interested in finding others of a similar age group of their own. The yearling pushed towards Rottnest Island as the older sub adults continued to the north as they were attracted to the area by yet another pod breaching further ahead of them. Arriving we could see another three pods spread through the area as the pod closest to us appeared to have been our breacher from earlier. Sure enough he launched once more just off our starboard side and landed with a mighty splash in the calm conditions. It was a wonderful morning out with the whales and very special to see the beautiful language of pec slapping and how important that communication is for our Humpback Whales.

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