We saw Humpbacks all day on Tuesday. On our 8:00 Wake up with the Whales Cruise from Anaeho’omalu Bay, the sightings began minutes after we left the bay. In total, we saw 8 different Humpbacks. Most were just surfacing, spouting, and diving, but we did see one whale slap his huge pectoral flipper (“arm”) on the surface.
On our Sunset Cruise on Alala, we watched one big whale (Greg, our on-board naturalist, is guessing this was a female) surfacing and spouting through three 20 minute dive cycles. Just as we had to leave her, she did a peduncle throw and pectoral slap (it made for a great “grand finale”).
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: One of the questions we get asked most frequently when we’re watching active whales splashing at the surface, is “Why are they doing that”? We’ve always guessed those splashes were some form of communication, and recently our theory was vindicated. Researchers watching Humpbacks off of Australia observed that breaching occurred most frequently when other whales were about 2 1/2 miles away, and repetitive tail and flipper slapping occurred most often just before new whales joined or left a pod. They also observed all these behaviors more often when it was windy (we’ve observed this in Hawaii too)! So…creating a big splash may be a Humpback’s way to say “Hey — Guys — I’m over here! C’mon over (or Don’t Go)! I’m excited, I’m tough, I’m irritated…”.