Whale Physiology


When a humpback whale takes a breath, everyone on board Whales in Paradise will see its force as a watery mist is blast into the air from the whales blow hole at up to more than 600km per hour.

Humpback whales will only surface for a fresh breath of air when they need to as they do not have a voluntary breathing reflex.

Gold Coast and Brisbane whale watchers will see a swimming humpback breath every 6 to 8 minutes while a resting whale will only surface every 10 to 20 minutes. Whales in Paradise researchers have reported that singing males can hold their breath for as long as an hour.

The reason why humpbacks can hold their breath so long in Gold Coast and Brisbane waters is because their blood is rich in hemoglobin, which helps the whales store oxygen in their blood.

Humpback whales are also known as red whales or rorquals because of their pinkish color in the white areas of their throat and belly.

When wale watching, you can tell when a whale defecates in the crystal waters of the Gold Coast because it leaves behind a yellowish-brown material in the water.

Even though Humpback whales drink a lot of seawater, they need freshwater to survive.  Research suggests that they fulfill their freshwater needs with the fish they eat and their stored fat reserves.

Thirty percent of a Humpback whale’s weight is blubber and it is used to conserve body heat and store energy.

Whale watchers will never see a whale sweat. This is due to their control they have over their internal body temperature.

When aboard Whales in Paradise's for your second or third Gold Coast Whale Watching cruise along the Gold Coast and Brisbane coastline, it is more than likely that some of the whales you encounter would have been the ones you spotted last season. The reason being is that Humpback whales usually live for 35 to 40 years and have even been known to live for more than 50 years.

A humpback brain weighs in a mighty 6.5 kilogram,s that is five times the weight of a human brain!

A Gold Coast Whale watching cruise is a very relaxing experience not just for the voyagers on board Whales in Paradise vessel but also for the whales themselves. When a whale is resting our the vessel, they will relax one whole hemisphere of their brain while the other half controls their body processes.

Humpback whales will be able to spot whale watchers long before the Whales in Paradise Gold Coast and Brisbane whale watching boat comes close to them. This excellent vision is due to the specially shaped cornea and lens in their eyes that helps them see both above and under the water.

When a humpback whale is underwater, its hearing is much more important than its vision. This is due to the fact that sounds travels much faster than light underwater.

Their sensitive hearing is not always a good thing for a humpback whale. Loud noise caused by humans in the waterways of the Gold Coast and Brisbane can in fact cause serious damage to the structure of their inner ear, luckily the low noise engines we use on our Gold Coast Whale Watching vessel crease no damage to the whales inner ear.

A Humpback whale does not have a functional vocal chord. The beautiful “singing” that whale watchers can hear on board Whales in Paradise Gold Coast whale watching vessel is instead made from pressure fluctuations from air being forced into their nasal passages.

As seen in the fantastic footage on www.whalesinparadise.com Humpback whales have many bumps around their head called Tubercles. Each bump has a single hair growing out of it, which helps the whale detect motion and sound vibrations.

Humpback whales do not use echoes to help it navigate and locate objects underwater. This common assumption and is only true for Ordontoetes, dolphins and other toothed whales.

Although the Humpback whale has a fantastic hearing and sight, their brain does not carry the necessary organs for smell.

Whales in Paradise research has shown that the Humpback whale has a very developed sense of taste and will even have distinct preferences for certain species of fish.