Featured Image Credit:SlaterMoore
By Alice Morris
We all have our own ways of unwinding at the end of a hectic day, and it turns out whales are no different. Last week, a photographer captured some incredible footage to prove it! How do whales like to kick back, you ask? Well, it involves a lot of help from kelp.
Aerial footage shows a humpback twirling through kelp “like a fork through spaghetti.”
As shown in this aerial footage captured off of Newport Beach in southern California, “kelping” is a common but rarely observed behavior of humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales.
“When they’re not feeding, and resting or feeling inquisitive, fairly often they’ll put their heads, flippers and flukes into kelp,” whale researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger said of the behavior. She also added, “It probably feels good, like a spa day, with all that kelp rubbing against their skin.”
Researchers believe that this affinity for twirling through kelp may explain why humpbacks often become entangled in commercial fishing ropes. The floating lines probably look like kelp, AKA their own personal masseuse.
“They tend to be very curious about floats and lines, just as they are about kelp,” said Schulman-Janiger.
The beautiful drone footage was captured by photographer Slater Moore. It does look like the humpback whale, nicknamed Felix, is thoroughly enjoying himself as he passes again and again through the kelp paddy.
Felix spent twenty minutes rolling through the strands of kelp, much to the delight of passengers aboard the whale watching boat Newport Legacy. Moore says that the passengers “broke into a yell, or chant of excitement every time the whale broke the surface.”
So the next time you are feeling over-WHALE-med, consider taking a page from Felix’s book. Trying a kelp-ful massage! It may be the next big thing… or a regular massage will probably do the trick too.