On Monday’s Wake up With the Whales Cruise, we spent a lot of time with a Mom/Baby/Escort pod. Baby breached right next to the boat, catching all of us off guard.
We also saw a lot of other spouts and tails from cruising adult Humpbacks. And we weren’t even out of the harbor on our 10:00 Signature Whale Watch when a guest yelled “Dolphins! Twelve o’Clock!” We soon found ourselves surrounded by a pod of 100+ very active Spinner Dolphins. We saw lots of babies jumping and spinning along with the adults, and as usual with a pod of Spinners, a bunch of them took turns playing in our bow wake.
After watching them for awhile, we turned south towards a couple of Humpback spouts, but before we could go even 200 yards, a sub-adult Humpback surfaced right next to us. This guy was only about 25 feet long and had mottled skin (covered in white spots). We thought we saw the last of him when he took a dive… but he decided to stay with us, paralleling us for more than 40 minutes — always surfacing on our port side, taking 3 breaths and diving again. After watching him for awhile (and trying to determine why his skin was spotted), we stopped to deploy our hydrophone and got to listen to some very clear songs.
Finally, on our way in again, we saw spouts and dives from 4 more pods of adult Humpbacks — two pods of two and two pods of 4. And on the Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we spent the first 45 minutes or so with a competitive pod of 5 whales that were heading north. We saw lots of lunging and heard lots of trumpeting from them. Then, we turned back and spent the rest of the time bouncing between different Mom/baby/escort pods. There sure are a lot of humpbacks around this season!
P.S. I’ll be away from a computer this evening, and tomorrow morning, so I won’t be able to send out the report about Tuesday’s activities till later in the day on Wednesday.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: The first whales to leave Hawaii each year are mature females (who are either newly pregnant, or taking a year off), followed by sub adult whales, and then, mature males. The last to leave are new mothers with their calves.