Wow, did we have fun on Wednesday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise! We had just left the harbor when a pod of Spinner Dolphins veered over to check out the boat. They led us to a Mom/Calf/Escort pod that was hanging out right in front of the Kawaihae break wall. The baby whale was really energetic, and we got to see him breach and lob his little flukes multiple times. Meanwhile, Mom and the Escort were either feeding off baby’s energy, or communicating something to each other, because we watched as each of them slapped their huge pectoral fins on the water. When we were able to tear our eyes from all this action and glanced around, we saw spouts and dorsal fins and flukes from at least 16 other Humpbacks in the near vicinity.
We headed north out of the harbor on our Whales & Cocktails at Sunset Cruise and ended up paralleling a Mom and her calf who were moving at a pretty good clip. When they stopped, we stopped, and were surprised by another pair of very large whales who may have been interested in Mom and Baby. Anyway, they changed their focus and decided to check us out. They spent a lot of time swimming back and forth under our trampolines (causing all of us to follow them from trampoline to trampoline — which must have been a funny view for them from below). One of them even spy hopped about 20 feet off our bow to take a look at us, and a lot of us got sprayed when one of them spouted very close by at our 1:00.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: For years, we had been telling our guests that researchers estimated a Humpback’s fish consumption during the summer season to be somewhere around 2000 pounds per day. And if you do a quick Google search you’ll find that “fact” cited all over the place. Turns out that this may be just another example of how inaccurate information gets spread. Once a “fact” is listed in a book, it’s picked up on the internet and its spread can be exponential. According to researcher Briana H. Witteveen and her colleagues who conducted a study to determine the effect of Humpback predation on fish abundance near Kodiak Alaska, based on the documented stomach contents of Humpbacks “processed” through whaling stations back in 1937, combined with estimates of actual suitable prey availability, an average size Humpback whale is eating more on the order of 800 pounds (or about 576,000 calories) of food each day. Does that seem like a lot of food to you?