As promised to my followers on Facebook, here is the video clip of the pod of whales that greeted our dive boat the other day! (It only took a collective total of seven hours of attempting to upload). 


We were headed out from the dive shop Day Dream, towards Peleliu for a day of diving, when our boat suddenly veered sharply to the left and someone yelled "pilot whales!" Within moments, our boat was surrounded by bow-dancers. They would come up, several at a time to jump synchronized out of the water, and then leave the space free for the next few. It was easy to become transfixed by the whales showing off directly in front of us, but when we peeled our eyes away to the surrounding waters, we found that hundreds of the cetaceans were performing the same dance in every direction. It was magical.

Our boat meandered around in several small circles to give the whales a chance to play with us, and then slowed to a stop. Our guide asked us if we wanted to snorkel, and before a moment had gone by, everyone splashed excitedly into the water. The visibility was crystal clear, and off in the distance I saw a group of three of four of the whales. I started swimming in that direction but a moment later they were out of sight. Not nearly as entertained by a handful of humans awkwardly kicking through the water as they had been by the boat, the whales disappeared just beyond sight.

Our guide told us they were pilot whales, but the fins don't seem to quite match up. Kyle later suggested melon-headed whales, and after doing a little research I am inclined to agree with him. Here's a picture of each I pulled off of Google. What do you think?

Pilot Whale
(Image found on Google)
Melon-Headed Whales
(Image found on Google)
Pilot whales usually travel in groups of 10-30, but can sometimes number over 100. The species is unique in that both males and females will remain in the pod they are born in the rest of their lives. They are also one of the few species of mammals in which the female goes through menopause. (Wow, I really just brought up menopause on my blog). Their primary source of food is squid.

Melon-headed whales are also known as many-toothed blackfish, and electra dolphins. They are very social animals and travel in pods of 100 to 1,000. Within those large pods, they usually break off and swim in smaller groups of 10-14 whales. They have also been observed touching fin tips as they swim. (How adorable is that!) Females in the species will stay in their birth pod for their lifespan, while males will usually leave. The cetaceans will practice a maneuver known as 'spy-hopping,' where several will rise vertically out of the water to see their surroundings, and then splash back down (while holding fins of course).