Guests joining us on the Wake up with the Whales Cruise on Monday saw spouts, dorsal fins and flukes from more than 15 different Humpbacks within just a couple of miles of the bay. All of them were in pods of twos and threes, and all of them seemed to be mirroring the very calm ocean conditions with very calm behaviors. When we got the chance to deploy the hydrophone during this cruise, we could hear several distinct volumes of the song indicating that we were picking up several singers from different distances.
On our 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, we found a Mom/Baby/Escort pod on the surface fairly early on in the cruise, This pod was heading south at about 5 or 6 knots, and we were able to parallel them for about 45 minutes. None of them stayed underwater very long. It kind of appeared to us that they had an appointment somewhere near the airport they didn’t want to miss, since for the entire time we got the opportunity to watch them, they neither veered from their path nor altered their speed.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Last year, we followed the story of an entangled Humpback whale who was eventually freed by the Whale Entanglement Response Team off the Maui coastline. The entanglement team was able to attach GPS tracking devices to the whale, and found that in the space of a week, this whale circled the Big Island and then crossed the Alenuihaha Channel to Maui — all while entangled in more than 200 feet of heavy line and crab buoys. Pretty amazing! Researchers now know that it’s common for Humpbacks who aren’t all tangled up to swim between the islands too, though a directional trend has yet to be observed. In other words, some whales travel north to south, some south to north, and some travel back and forth…which, come to think of it, closely mirrors the behavior of our human visitors to the islands!