Which one is the biggest whale? It is the Blue whale, which is also the largest animal to ever have lived on this planet. Their enormous size is very difficult to comprehend, measuring up to 30 meters in length and records suggest, that females taken by commercial whalers weighed in excess of 170 tons! That is an equivalent weight of 2250 persons. Or the dry weight of a Boeing 747 Jumbo airliner.
Other big whales are the Bowhead, Southern Right, Fin and Grey whales. These are all baleen whales. The largest of the toothed whales is the Sperm whale and again mind boggling achievements are recorded: they can dive to an estimated depth of 3000 metres and stay down for more than 2 hours!
The Humpback whale, the fifth largest of the big whales. Their name came from hunchback, describing the way they bend their body, before they dive.
But the Humpback is not just your any old whale: it has the largest pectoral fins and is the most acrobatic, it is very playful, very inquisitive and therefore often enjoys the company of vessels (and their passengers) . And they sing a love song, which is the most complex of perhaps all animals.
It appears that all Humpbacks within a certain group sing the same song at a certain time, then they all make the same changes to that song during the mating season and remember the song last sung in September, when they start singing again the following mating season in June.
We are lucky in Hervey Bay, as often Humpback whales are heard singing. We are not certain whether these are actual love songs or merely "chit-chat" between mother and calf or other communication between the animals, but when the song is heard by one of the whale watch vessels through a hydrophone, they will amplify it and put through the radio.
Every operator will receive this song and again amplify it on their vessel, so EVERY passenger on the waters of Hervey Bay hears the whale singing! Co-operation of a whale watch fleet at its best. It is a haunting kind of sound, that changes from a deep moan to a high pitch screech and once heard it is never forgotten. If the singer is close to a vessel there is no need for a hydrophone or amplification. The sound will travel through the hull for everyone on board to hear, loud and clear. No wonder that the early sailors aboard their wooden square-riggers told the stories of ghosts, trying to communicate in some mysterious way. A recording of the song of the Humpback whale is aboard the space-probes Voyager I and II, traveling into outer space as perhaps beings out there can understand the complicated, yet precise sequence of sounds.