What a beautiful start to our weekend of Whale Watching. On our Signature 10:00 Whale Watch from Kawaihae on Friday, we saw spouts from more than 12 Humpbacks. Highlights from this cruise included watching one pod of two relatively small whales breach at least 15 times (one breached 10, and the other one around 5), and then pec slap repetitively. We also saw multiple tail lobs from another bigger whale earlier in the cruise. And to top it all off, as we were entering the harbor to return to the dock, we were greeted by a pod of Spinner Dolphins who spent a bit of time cruising in our bow wake.
On Saturday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise, there were so many whales in every direction we really didn’t know which way to look. Throughout the course of the cruise we saw spouts, splashes, dorsal fins and flukes from more than 2 dozen different whales. Highlights included the time we spent with Mom and her very young baby. This little whale kept trying to approach us, but Mom wasn’t having any of that. Eventually, the calf began breaching and head lunging (maybe expressing frustration at not getting to do what he wanted?). We also heard a veritable symphony of whale songs when we deployed the hydrophone.
It took us a bit of time to find whales on Saturday’s 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, but we encountered a couple of lone humpbacks offshore of they Mauna Kea, After watching them for awhile, we saw a Mom and her calf, and cruised with them for the rest of our trip. After we dropped the guests off from this cruise, we went right back out again on an Educational Whale Watch Cruise for some local school kids. We found the same Mom/Baby pod, but this time they were accompanied by a couple of other big whales (males…probably trying to have a “date” with Mom). Baby was pretty active, peduncle throwing and pec slapping, and as our on-board naturalist Greg explained, “learning how to be a Humpback”. We also got to witness a couple of close by breaches from one of the big escorts. On our Whales & Cocktails at Sunset Cruise we saw whales all around us for most of the cruise, but were delighted when one of them, who was only about 250 yards away, breached 6 times.
Sunday’s Wake up with the Whales was a repeat of Saturday’s cruise with whales surfacing, breaching, head lunging, and sounding everywhere. We spent some time with a fidgety calf…and besides getting to watch him breach, we also got to see him sit on mom’s big rostrum (head) and ride around as she pushed him. We heard great sounds when we deployed the hydrophone too!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Why don’t diving whales have to clear their ears like we do when we’re diving (or changing altitude in an airplane)? It turns out that whales have pretty rigid Eustachian tubes (those are the tiny tubes that run between your throat and your middle ear). So, unlike what happens to most of us who have to force air through our collapsible Eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in our ears, the airflow is basically unimpeded for our cetacean friends!