Lots of fun stuff to report from our weekend of Whale Watching!
On Friday, guests on both our Wake up with the Whales Cruise and our 10:00 Whale Watch spent most of their time watching very active competitive pods. Our 8:00 Cruise could barely keep up with the pod as it headed north. On both cruises we saw lots of aggressive behaviors — head lunges, peduncle throws, and lots of shoving. On our Snorkel and Whale Watch Adventure, a pod of two very large humpbacks found us. One of them was pec slapping repeatedly (which caught our attention). When we arrived in the area, both whales came right to the boat, swam under us and then up to our bow, where one of them spy hopped three times just about 40 feet from us. We also operated a private Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise for our local Rotary Group. The Rotarians got to see two different Mom/Baby pairs, and also got one of those surprise appearances when a big Humpback surfaced right in front of us. Of course Captain Kino stopped the boat immediately, and we all cheered as this big guy swam right down our port side before sounding.
Saturday’s sightings were dominated by close encounters and playful calves. On our Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we watched a smaller whale breach just about a hundred yards from us, watched as a bigger whale surfaced just 50 yards from us, and found a pod of spinner dolphins pretty far offshore. On our 10:00 Cruise, we watched Mom, her baby and escort interact for quite awhile. Mom and the escort were doing all kinds of weird twisting dives near the surface, and baby was doing all sorts of little tail lobs. We weren’t completely sure what was going on with the three of them, but it was interesting to watch. We also operated a Private Snorkel and Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae. Besides lots of spouts and a couple of breaches, we got to watch Mom, her calf and an escort interact at the surface for quite awhile.
The highlight of our Sunday Wake up with the Whales Cruise was getting to see some “logging behavior”. Actually, it was our guests who first pointed out “something kind of odd” on the water…as we approached we realized that what we were seeing was Momma and her little calf taking a nap. We watched for quite awhile, wondering if they were going to wake up, but some breachers caught our eye, so we left them to their dreams and moved on. Finally, we ran an Educational Whale Watch Cruise for some kids from Holualoa, and got to watch a younger Humpback interact with a pod of Spinner Dolphins. It kind of looked like the whale was annoyed by the dolphins, or maybe he was playing with them…but we watched him do a whole bunch of pec slapping and a bit of tail lobbing…but to no avail. The dolphins continued leaping and spinning all around this whale as he moved up the coast.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Before whaling was banned internationally, Humpback whales’ livers were processed for their oil, which contained a lot of vitamin A. A fully grown Humpback has a liver that weighs between 800 and 1400 pounds.