Whales are really fantastic creatures. They’re incredibly smart, being able to recognize, remember, reason, and problem solve. They’re also just pretty animals, and it feels like I learn something new about them more often than most other animals.
Tail sailing, for example, is a behavior I’d never heard of until just today. Apparently it’s fairly common among certain species of whales, like the Southern right whale, but it’s very rarely witnessed by humans.
Why they participate in tail sailing is still a but of a mystery. Theories state that it could be an effort to control their body temperature, taking advantage of solar radiation or just the evaporation of the water on the whale’s skin. It could also be a feeding process, allowing them to easily access organisms close to the ocean floor. Alternatively, the whales could just be using their tales as a sail, like the name implies.
Whatever the reason, very few have had the opportunity to witness tail sailing, and even fewer have caught it on camera. Fortunately for us, YBS Youngbloods got some footage in a transparent kayak, providing some of the best footage possible.
He sounds absolutely blown away after the whales leave and, honestly, why shouldn’t he be? Just having that close of an encounter with a whale, let alone multiple, in such a vulnerable setup has to be absolutely mind blowing, let alone witnessing an incredibly rare behavior like tail sailing.
I don’t know which of the theories is correct, no one does, but I really hope it’s just that they’re letting the air do the work. Knowing that whales get lazy and are willing to just sit back while the wind does the work would make me very happy.
Image Credit: YBS Youngbloods via YouTube