Do Humpbacks have a sense of humor? We had to ask ourselves that question on Thursday’s 10:00 Whale Watch, when we saw a spout before we even left the harbor…and though we first had to get through the channel markers before we could travel over to where we saw the spout, and though we did that, maneuvering to get to the spot, and though we stopped and waited and waited and waited, we never got to see that whale surface. Was he underwater somewhere, laughing at our efforts to find him? Of course we’ll never know…and eventually we focused our attention on some spouts up the coastline that turned out to be from a competitive pod of two BIG humpbacks, and one sub-adult. The sub-adult wasn’t really that involved in the fray, but he did hang around while the other two went at it. We saw lots of head lunges (some were doubles as the whales lunged into each other), and lots of flashing of those hug pec flippers right under the surface. These two were charging all around, changing direction, trumpeting, and generally creating a huge commotion. There were a couple of times during the cruise when we were able to stop and deploy the hydrophone for a couple of minutes, and each time we heard some great sounds, so we know there were more male Humpbacks close by.
On our Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise, we once again saw a spout before we left the harbor, and once again we kinda’ thought the whale was laughing at how easily he could trick us, because though we waited a considerable amount of time at the spot we last saw the spout, we never saw the whale. We did see two more spouts though, so we motored to the spot where we last saw them and waited. This time we were surprised when two humpbacks surfaced and spouted just 50 feet off our bow. After they sounded, we stayed in the same spot, and 12 minutes later, they surfaced and spouted just 50 feet off our stern. So…after they sounded, we waited again…and 12 minutes later they surfaced 50 feet from our 1:00 position…and then they started swimming away. Of course we all gave them some shouts of appreciation, and we watched them turn back towards us. They sounded…and must have swum under us, because they next surfaced at our 4:00!
Hope your weekend is full of exciting whale sightings…I’ll send out a recap of our weekend’s cruises on Monday.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Researchers have observed that female Humpbacks don’t associate with each other at all while they’re in Hawaii. This is especially interesting in light of the fact that the females do associate with each other in Alaska — they’ll even feed cooperatively there. Since the females come here just to mate (and calve), we can postulate that female-female interaction must somehow get in the way of successful mating. Maybe groups of females would attract too many competitive males for safe mating to occur….what do you think?