The Story of Splash

Animal Number: NP003

Splash is a humpback whale that was sighted off the coast of Maui, southwest of Ma’alaea, on February 12, 2012. It is quite difficult to determine if a humpback whale is male or female from the surface; however, due to behaviors exhibited we are assuming Splash is a male. He appeared to be the escort to a mom and calf pair.

Students at the Portage Aquatic Club, a competitive swimming program in Michigan, raised money through various fundraisers to name a whale. Each person submitted a name to be voted upon and the winning name was Splash!

Humpback whales are traditionally identified by their fluke patterns, which are as unique to the whales as fingerprints are to us. The flukes of a humpback whale can be as wide as ten to fifteen feet and the ventral, or underside, surface of the flukes have the genetic black and white coloration specific to the whale. In addition, the trailing edge of the flukes can have scars that serve as additional means of identification. Splash will be able to be identified in future sighting not only by his tail flukes but also his dorsal fin, which has propeller scars.

Pacific Whale Foundation developed “Be Whale Aware” guidelines to promote responsible whale watching and to minimize the risk of accidental strikes. Federal and state laws prohibit approaching humpback whale closer than 100 yards. The “Be Whale Aware” guidelines urge vessels to slow down when whales are around to minimize the risks of collision. In addition, the guidelines provide direction on how to travel when whales are around and how long to stay in the vicinity of whales. For example, whalewatching of groups containing calves should be limited to 30 minutes. You can learn more about the “Be Whale Aware” guidelines at http://www.pacificwhale.org/BWA.

By adopting Splash you have helped support Pacific Whale Foundation’s ongoing research studies, conservation actions, and educational efforts on humpback whales. We thank you for your support and look forward to future sightings of Splash and the opportunity to share them with you.