Why Whales Pec Slap

Why Whales Pec Slap is an important Language of the Whales to learn and today we had a perfect example demonstrating one of the reasons why whales pec slap. A large explosion of white water on the horizon indicated activity in the area and as we approached a long pectoral fin was lifted high before crashing back down into the Indian Ocean. Weighing in at one thousand kilograms and reaching up to five meters in length the pectoral fin of a Humpback Whale is the longest of any cetacean species. A pectoral fin slap or pec slapping as it is called is when a whale will lift the pectoral fin above the waters surface and forcefully land their pec back down into the ocean repeatedly. It is often sighted amongst social or flirtatious whales and rarely observed during dominant or aggressive communications. 

Seeing a pec slap we often have the urge to wave back and this is wonderful to see as a pec slap in the whale world is very much the equivalent of a friendly human wave. The pec slap is a behaviour used to get the attention and encourage the attention of those close to the vicinity of that individual. Today we had a stunning female Humpback Whale who had the most beautiful jet black fluke and as she began to pec slap she called in the boys. It didn’t take long before we had a competition pod of 4-5 Humpbacks with the males jostling for position closest to the female. Eventually one male did peel away which left the remaining three males to compete. The largest male appeared to swim off with his girl towards the end of the interaction as the two bachelor males continue on with their search amongst the feeding Bottlenose Dolphins and Gannets.

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