We took guests on both Manu Iwa and Seasmoke for Wednesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise. Since the boats were close to each other for most of the trip, we all had similar experiences — and they were good ones! Throughout the course of the cruise, we saw more than 18 different whales. At one point we were surrounded by 3 pods of two Humpbacks each. One pod was spouting on our starboard side, while another was sounding on our port side and the others were cruising on our bow! We saw more than 4 head lunges from one whale, and more than 8 breaches from another whale. We also saw some pretty energetic tail lobs, and even some pectoral slaps all from different Humpbacks. We didn’t find any calves on this cruise, though we did see the flukes of a sub-adult who was hanging out with a bigger whale. We also had the opportunity to deploy our hydrophone — at first, we had to turn the volume up completely to hear anything, but as the boat turned into the swell, we were able to pick up some very distinct voices from whales closer by.
Guests joining us on the 10:00 Cruise saw 6 different Humpbacks including a pod of 2 adult Humpbacks who popped up right next to us towards the end of the cruise. Of course Captain Will stopped the boat to watch them, and these whales must have enjoyed our presence, as they took their time swimming towards us and right across our bow.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: For years, we’ve been telling our guests that researchers estimated a Humpback’s daily fish consumption during the summer season to be on the order of 2000 pounds per day. And if you do a quick Google search you’ll find that “fact” cited all over the place. Turns out that this may be just another example of how inaccurate information gets spread. Once a “fact” is listed in a book, it’s picked up on the internet and its spread can be exponential. According to researcher Briana H. Witteveen and her colleagues who conducted a study to determine the effect of Humpback predation on fish abundance near Kodiak Alaska, based on the documented stomach contents of Humpbacks “processed” through whaling stations back in 1937, combined with estimates of actual suitable prey availability, an average size Humpback whale is eating more on the order of 800 pounds (or about 576,000 calories) of food each day.Does that seem like a lot of food to you?