Thursday marked our first day of our official Whale Watch Season! Our morning cruise got rained out, but the rain at the shoreline was actually something completely different at altitude. The storms passed by before our 1st Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise, and when we looked up from our decks, we were delighted to see snow caps on both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa!
But the view of snowy mountains had some competition when we saw some splashing out to sea. We knew we were looking at a Humpback, but we weren’t completely sure if he was slapping his pectoral fin on the surface, or if we were seeing splashes from his big flukes. We went over to investigate and got to see him come to the surface 3 different times (150 – 200 yards away) to spout and then dive for about 4 minutes, before we had to head back to the harbor.
And though we usually don’t report on shore-based sightings, on the first day of Whale Watch Season, we’ll make an exception. Our land staff at Anaeho’omalu Bay and at the Hilton Waikoloa Village report sightings of a pod of two Humpbacks surfacing, spouting, and swimming past (and as they passed the Hilton, they were just a couple hundred yards offshore)!
Welcome to December!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: The order of whales is called “Cetacean”. The order is divided into two sub-orders, based on what’s in the whales’ mouths. Whales with baleen are in the sub-order “Mysticete”, and whales with teeth are in the sub-order “Odonotocete”. Researchers do not agree on the number of species in each sub-order, but the Society for Marine Mammalogy lists 14 species of Baleen Whales, and 72 species of Toothed Whales.