We took both Manu Iwa and Seasmoke out on our Thursday Wake up with the Whales Cruise, We decided to travel together, so guests on both boats got to see very similar activities…and there was a LOT to see. We started the cruise watching several spouts and peduncle dives from a pair of two fairly large Humpbacks. Then we saw a breach, so we headed further out to sea. We found a pod of two…one considerably larger than the other. These two were working something out between themselves (either a fight…or a date…or maybe both), but we watched as the larger whale breached several times, while the smaller whale head lunged. Then they both started slapping their pectoral flippers on the water (the flipper from the larger whale was easily 12 feet long). Every time they sounded, the larger Humpback lifted his flukes, and the smaller one just kind of slipped out of sight. We watched this activity for quite awhile…but also saw several more breaches from other whales further away. Interestingly, we had our depth finder on during the entire cruise and most of the activity we observed was taking place over areas that were more than 600 feet deep.
On our 10:00 Cruise, we had to practice patience. We traveled south from the harbor and cruised around for close to an hour before we really saw much at all. After finding a couple of whales who sounded, we stopped the boat and tried to wait them out. Eventually, we saw spouts at our 12:00, 3:00, and 9:00…but the whales were on very long dives, and we had to leave the area and head back to the harbor. Luckily on the way back, some very observant guests saw a whale breach behind us, so we turned around and got to see that whale breach a total of NINE times before he finally tired himself out. Just before we got to the entrance to the harbor, we found ourselves accompanied by a very large and very active pod of Spinner Dolphins. We estimate there were over 100 in this pod…and we saw all sorts of aerial activities…flips, arcuate leaps, end-over-end spins…it made us ask, who’s having more fun? The dolphins doing all that stuff, or us, because we got to watch it?!
Have a great weekend. I’ll send out a recap of our sightings on Monday.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: This may be merely anecdotal, but over the decades we’ve been watching the humpbacks, we’ve noticed that when the swells begin to roll in to our side of the island, the whales seem to move further out to sea — and while we didn’t feel or see much of a swell yesterday, the forecast is for it to come up quickly and big today. Do Humpbacks feel the increased water movement close to shore and head to deeper water (which would account for our observations)? I’ve never come across any research conducted around this question. Hopefully, our researcher friends who read this email can point me in the right direction — and rest assured, I’ll be sure to let you know if what we think we’re observing has actually been substantiated in the literature!