Patience paid off for us on our Wake up With the Whales Cruise on Seasmoke on Wednesday. For the first 90 minutes, we cruised around looking at Humpbacks’ spouts and backs. We saw a few tails too. As were heading back to the bay though, we saw a whale breach just about 100 yards off our bow. We stopped the boat, and watched as this whale breached 22 more times! You read that correctly…we counted 23 breaches total before this whale tired out and we had to head in. On the Snorkel and Whale Watch Adventure Cruise we also saw plenty of spouts and lots of flukes, and even a pod or dolphins… but nothing like that breacher! On the 10:00 Whale Watch from Kawaihae, we found a pod of three whales. Of course we stopped the boat a couple hundred yards away from them, but they decided to approach us and stay with us for quite awhile. The smallest of these three whales (he was only about 22 feet long or so) breached just 75 yards off our bow. We saw a lot of other whales too…spouting and fluke diving.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Just how difficult is it for a 40 ton, 45 foot long animal to “fly” from the sea in a total breach? Observers have reported seeing Humpbacks breach after only two kick strokes for propulsion. Based on the formula for calculating horsepower, measurements of laminar flow around cetacean skin (how water flows past the skin of the animal), girth and drag in the water, the breaching whale is producing between 1500 and 1700 horsepower in order to “catch air”. We used to think it was closer to 5000 horsepower, but with the aid of a calculator and more accurate measurements, we’ve been able to recalculate more accurately…still, try this yourself next time you’re in the water. We’re betting you won’t get very far!