In a classroom that spans the world’s oceans, from Alaska’s herring-rich coastline to Antarctica’s feeding grounds, humpback calves learn their family’s traditions. Cooperative hunting strategies, the longest migrations of any known mammal and communicating through complex songs to find a mate are all lessons absorbed by the younger generation.
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One obstacle stands between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula: the infamous Drake's Passage. The Planet of the Whales team referred to the sea conditions as "being stuck inside a washing machine." (National Geographic for Disney+/Hayes Baxley)
Director of Photography Hayes Baxley rests aboard The Australis expedition vessel in Antarctica. The Planet of the Whales team filmed for 45 days at the bottom of the world. (National Geographic for Disney+)
Whales are oceanic mammals - they need air to breathe, and they do so through a strategically positioned blowhole at the top of their heads. The force of an exhale is great, sending water 15 feet up at an impressive 300 miles per hour. (National Geographic for Disney+/Hayes Baxley)
Humpbacks and other whales "spyhop," where they stick their heads out of the water. It may be to get a better view - or listen in - to action at the surface. (National Geographic for Disney+/Brian Armstrong)