We had some height-of-the-season whale sightings on Tuesday’s cruises. On our Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we spent the first hour or so just cruising around looking at (and enjoying) spouts and flukes and dorsal fins from more than a dozen different Humpbacks. We stopped the boat for awhile to deploy the hydrophone and heard some great sounds. After we started cruising again, two whales decided to surface beside us and swim right down the starboard side of the boat just under the surface, giving us a spectacular close encounter. A bit later, we were watching a couple of big Humpbacks surfacing and spouting about 100 yards away from us when something must have excited them, because they both started breaching simultaneously, and then side by side (the first landed and the second breached) 3 times…and then they continued head lunging (first one and then the other) 4 more times…and then it was over.
We also operated our 10:00 Cruise from Anaeho’omalu Bay. Since we were cruising in the same area as our 8:00 trip, guests also got to see lots of different whales. We watched a lazy competitive pod of three Humpbacks for awhile. We also got to see some pec slapping and a couple of breaches.
Finally, we took out a great group of keiki, some of their teachers, and some of their parents for an Educational Whale Watch Cruise. Some of our best cruises seem to be when we have a boat load of kids, and this one was no exception. Besides seeing multiple spouts and flukes, we were totally surprised when a BIG humpback breached 40 yards off our port side (we had no idea he was even there)! On our way back to the bay, we got to see multiple pec slaps from a pair of whales about 200 yards from us.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Researchers have discovered that the brains of many cetaceans, including Humpbacks, contain 3 times as many spindle neurons as are found in humans. They believe these specialized neurons evolved to aid in speed of communication of signals across larger brains. In humans these neurons have been observed to be active when the subject experienced strong emotion, and social awareness…so maybe the whales we’re studying so closely, are also studying us!