We still had quite a bit of wind off and on during the weekend, so we weren’t able to run all of our scheduled cruises. But we did find Humpbacks (and the Humpbacks found us) when we were out to sea.
On Saturday’s 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, we saw some breaching going on north of the harbor. We never really caught up to the breachers, but we were pleasantly surprised when a Humpback surfaced just 100 yards off our starboard rails and spouted several times before diving. While waiting to see if that whale would surface near us again, we deployed the hydrophone and heard several clear and loud voices, so we know there were even more whales underwater near by. On our Saturday Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise, we spent more than 30 minutes paralleling a pod of 3 adult Humpbacks who were cruising together. These 3 surfaced to spout really frequently so we assumed that they were interacting quite a bit underwater too (they were clearly out of breath when they came to the surface).
On Sunday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we saw spouts all over the place — the largest number of Humpbacks we’ve seen in days! We also got the opportunity to watch a Mom/Baby/Escort pod for about 30 minutes — of course baby surfaced much more frequently than Mom and the Escort. We enjoyed watching baby roll around on the surface. Interestingly, when we deployed the hydrophone during this cruse, we heard….NOTHING. And on our 10:00 Cruise we saw Spinner Dolphins as we were exiting the harbor, so we spent some time with them. We then headed towards some Humpbacks we saw off to our west…but they were moving fast, and we never really could catch up to them. We saw them spout and dive several times before they disappeared on us. We lowered our hydrophone and got to hear some great sounds…and then headed back towards the harbor where we saw another spout. This whale kind of disappeared on us too, but we did get to see some other spouts on our way back in.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: The smooth round flat spot we see on the water after a whale dives is called the “footprint”. Whalers thought it was caused by oil from the whale’s skin calming the surface of the water, but water samples have proven that theory to be false. When a whale dives (or kicks just below the surface) his flukes break the surface tension of the water and create a vertical wake, forming the circular footprint.