Bahia in Pictures: Baleia Jubarte

Earlier this month I followed my boyfriend/dolphin researcher colleague Eric to the Brazilian state of Bahia, where we stayed with his friend/whale researcher colleague Marcos.

Marcos and Eric met me early in the morning at the airport in Salvador. I changed into comfortable clothes in the car, and we went straight to the beach, where we hopped into a 20-foot-boat and went looking for whales.

Humpback 2It didn’t take us very long to find humpback whales (baleia jubarte in Portuguese). In the southern winter the whales come up from Antarctica to warmer waters to breed, give birth, and sing.

Humpback 1

We dropped hydrophones into the water:

Humpbacks 3

And we heard this:

The funny thing is how easy it was to find them. Humpback whales are everywhere. There are even humpbacks near New York City. You just need a boat to go find them. We’re barely aware of them, but they have a hard time sharing the ocean with us: humans make a huge amount of destructive noise, like boat engine sound. In fact, I just learned that in the days following 9/11/2001, right whales off of Nova Scotia had less stress hormones in their blood—probably because of reduced shipping traffic.

More photos coming up!

~Megan

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