Since I usually just report about the Humpback sightings we have on our dedicated Whale Watch Cruises, it may seem to you that the Humpback activity closely parallels our Whale Watch Cruise schedule. Of course that isn’t the case — the whales can be active at any time of the day (or night). We ran an exclusive Snorkel Charter on Thursday from 9:30 – 12:30 and we saw all kinds of activity. Highlights included a fairly small and lazy pod of Spinner Dolphins who chose to ride our bow wake for awhile. There were probably 30 dolphins in this pod, and we only saw a couple of surface jumps from them (they were more like barrel rolls).
We also saw quite a few Humpbacks. Our first sightings were of a couple of lone whales. Each time we saw a spout, Captain Jeff stopped the boat, and each time we got to watch the Humpback lift his flukes and dive towards us! At the end of the cruise, we encountered a competitive pod of 4 BIG whales. We watched the chase for as long as we could, and got to see a couple of head lifts (with some throat inflation), and a couple of dives where we clearly could see one whale’s flukes hit another whale!
Have a great weekend, and look for the recap of our weekend sightings on Monday.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Though no one is really sure how Humpback Whales are able to navigate so accurately through the open ocean to find Hawaii, research conducted on the migratory paths of a few South Atlantic and a few South Pacific Humpbacks between 2003 and 2007 shows that regardless of currents on the surface, storms and obstacles, the humpbacks never deviated more than about 5 degrees from their straight-line migratory paths. Researchers don’t think the whales are relying solely on the earth’s magnetic fields for navigation, since magnetism varies too widely to explain the straight paths the whales swim, and they also don’t think the whales are just using the sun (like many birds do) because the ocean wouldn’t provide an adequate frame of reference. It’s possible the whales rely on both those methods, combined with celestial markers. Or maybe the whales navigate by following the sounds of each other’s voices. Researchers are still working to solve the mystery.