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Pacific Humpback Whale Migration Facts

The combination of long summer days and nutrient rich Alaskan water create the perfect conditions for the algal growth that feeds the tons of fish and krill that will in turn feed the Pacific Humpback whales. These whales spend the summer in icy Alaskan waters stocking up on food before making their annual migration to warmer waters for breeding and birthing. The whales are divided into three groups: some travel to the warmer waters of Baja, Mexico, others to Japan, but the majority (about 60%) will migrate to Hawaiian waters. They begin to leave Alaskan waters in the late fall and travel nearly non-stop at an average speed of about 1mph. Their journey takes 6-8 weeks. Nursing females and juveniles arrive first, beginning in late November. Males arrive next. Finally pregnant moms who stayed behind until the last minute to stock up on food will arrive last. They will then spend the winter in Hawaii, giving birth and mating before returning to the colder Alaskan waters to feed.