We had some pretty incredible experiences on the water on Wednesday. On our 8:00 Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we were surprised by a Humpback who surfaced within about 25 feet of us on our starboard bow. We were cruising at the time, and didn’t know he was there, but of course we immediately stopped the boat. This whale swam alongside us up to the bow, and then turned (on a dime) and cruised to our stern right under the surface of the water. As he passed by, we saw his buddy swimming right behind him, just slightly deeper. We also got to watch a couple of smaller whales peduncle throw and then pec slap several times. Then, to top it off, we watched a fairly large school of small bait fish (we call them “oioi” in Hawaii) popping up to the surface…along with 3 sub-adult Humpbacks (all about 30 feet long). These whales stayed with the fish so of course we stopped the boat again to watch. Though we couldn’t be sure, it seemed like the whales were snacking on the fish as they surrounded the boat. We followed all the bubbles from the school of fish as they swam towards our bow, just in time to see one of the whales breach just about 50 feet in front of us!
On our 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, we got mugged by a curious whale who swam all around us and under us for more than 20 minutes. I’ve been promised some edited video…and when I get it, I’ll be sure to include a clip, so you can see what it’s like to be “people watched” by a Humpback!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Were we really witnessing Humpbacks snacking on those fish on Wednesday morning? It’s pretty well known that for the most part, Humpbacks don’t feed when they’re spending time in the lower latitudes (mating grounds). But a quick review of the literature indicates that researchers have found evidence of Humpbacks, mainly sub-adults, feeding opportunistically and occasionally during the time they spend in the tropics. It kind of makes sense when you think about it…these are the teenagers of the whale world, and we all know how much (and how often) a teenager eats!