Family of humpback whales hang around Zamami as whale-watching season arrives

Family of humpback whales hang around Zamami as whale-watching season arrives

A humpback whale makes an appearance in the waters near Zamami Island on December 28, during the first whale watching tour of the season (photo by Kiyoshi Miyagi).

January 10, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hirokazu Ohtsubo


Every year, from the end of December until the following April, humpback whales visit the waters of Kerama Islands to breed. During this whale watching season, whales have been spotted one after another in Zamami and Tokashiki Villages and the residents are all in a welcoming mood.


The Zamami Village Whale Watching Association gave its first whale watching boat tour of the season on December 28, which was originally slated for December 27 but was canceled due to high waves. The first whale sightings were reported on December 19, with more sightings since.


In the waters approximately 3 km south of Zamami’s Fukaji Island, three humpback whales, a male whale escorting a parent and a calf born last season, were seen swimming leisurely, surfacing to breathe at 10 to 20 minutes intervals.


Kiyoshi Miyagi, 61, a captain and a photographer, said, “I’m glad they come back safely like this every year. I was a little worried about the pumice stones, but I hope they can raise their children around the Kerama Islands peacefully.”


The association plans to offer whale watching tours until April 5. One staff at the administrative office commented, “It’s been a great start [to the season].”

A man in his twenties from Ishikawa Prefecture, who participated in the tour, said, “Right away we were able to see a calf and two adult whales. It was great. I would love to come back in February.”


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)


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