Thursday was a day of action for the visiting Kohala Coast Humpbacks. On our 8:00 Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we saw lots of whales in all directions, but the one that caught our attention beached 5 times (once REALLY close to us). We also saw over 30 tail lobs (we usually lose count after about 20), a huge peduncle throw, and lots of pectoral slapping.
On our 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, we quickly found a competitive pod of 4 or 5 whales (again, it was difficult to count). It’s possible that these were all males, because after trumpeting around us, head lunging, peduncle throwing and pec slapping, they barreled over to a Mom/Baby pod closer to shore. It was interesting watching Mom and baby try to stay away from the fray, and then the whole pod sort of broke apart. But the excitement wasn’t over, as two of the competitors led us back to the harbor at our 11:00, and two others at our 1:00. And to top it off, we saw a completely unexpected, and completely full breach about 75 yards off our bow…hopefully one of our guests got it on camera and will send the image our way.
We also ran a private Whale Watch Cruise on Alala for some great folks from the Waikoloa Senior Center. Though we saw lots of spouts during this cruise, the highlight was watching Mom and her baby off of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Mom spent some time on her back at the surface, slapping both her pec flippers, and also did a few tail lobs before sounding. Though we were only in about 60 feet of water at the time, we weren’t able to track her as she dove under us and reappeared about 150 yards off our 8:00.
On our Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise, we were surrounded by whales. We were most excited though when we found the same Mom and Baby pod that we had seen earlier. They were a little south of where we had last seen them, and this time they were accompanied by an escort. We watched baby playing around, breaching repetitively (which is just SO cute). At one point we saw a 4th whale approaching our Mom/Baby/Escort pod, but apparently he wasn’t welcomed, so he continued on.
Have a great weekend…I’ll send out a recap of our sightings on Monday.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Researchers have observed that Humpback calves are very playful, investigating all kinds of objects in their environment (including our boat), interacting with their moms, and even interacting with passing pods of dolphins. But for as many calves as we see in Hawaii during the winter, we never have observed the calves playing with each other. Though we’re not sure why this is, perhaps the new moms won’t allow a calf not her own to approach, because she doesn’t want to feed the wrong one.