Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are large baleen whales averaging 40-50 feet in length and weighing up to 79,000 pounds. They swim to Alaska in order to feed on the abundant zooplankton (krill) that thrive in the cool northern waters. In the autumn, the whales migrate to warmer waters (Hawaii and Baja) where they live off their fat reserves, breed and give birth. Their annual migration of about 6,000 miles is one of the longest of any mammal. A sign that a Humpback whale is about to dive deep (sounding) is the classic display of the fluke before it descends. Humpback whales are commonly seen from the Southeast to the Southwest coastal regions of Alaska.
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