When we were leaving the bay on Tuesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we saw spouts pretty much every where we looked, so we decided to just head out and see which direction looked most promising. After awhile, some Humpbacks spouted closer to shore towards the south, so we headed towards where we thought they might be and began to play the waiting game. While we were just sitting and floating, we saw a spout about 500 yards away to our 3 o’clock, and another the same distance to our 5 o’clock…and then our patience paid off as the pair we were waiting for spouted at our 11 o’clock just 100 yards away, and then sounded, swimming towards the boat. We all got great views of them as they did a leisurely pass just about 30 feet directly underneath the boat, and then surfaced again at our 6 o’clock. Based on their speed and direction, we know they were checking us out! On the way back to the bay, we saw several more spouts from Humpbacks further away.
Guests on our Signature Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae began their trip with an exciting sighting of two whales who surfaced and then headed right towards our bow before sounding. Throughout the course of that trip we saw 12 different Humpbacks, and we finished the cruise with a sighting even more exciting than our first one was. Just before we got to the harbor we saw a breach about 1/4 mile off our port side — and that whale kept breaching and breaching and breaching, for a total of 6 breaches. Meanwhile, off our stern, another whale started head lunging and breaching, most likely in response to the breacher.
Yesterday was Captain Jeff Baker’s birthday, and he celebrated with us by captaining our Sail with the Whales Cruise. During that cruise, we saw about 10 Humpbacks, including two different whales who decided to swim very close to the boat — we’re pretty sure they stopped by just to wish Captain Jeff a Hau’oli la Hanau!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: According to research results released by SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpback Whales in the North Pacific – a research project involving more than 400 researchers in 10 countries), in 2008 there were approximately 18,000 – 20,000 Humpbacks living in the North Pacific, with the population wintering in Hawaii seeing a 5.5% – 6% annual rate of increase since the early 1990′s. If this population increase rate has remained consistent, that means there are about 25,000 Humpbacks in the entire North Pacific — and we’re likely to see about 2/3rd’s of them filter through the islands this winter.