Boy was it windy near Anaeho’omalu Bay for our Wake up with the Whales Cruise on Wednesday! But since the ocean conditions were safe, we decided to take Seasmoke out to see what we could see, and it turned out to be an incredible day for breaching. We counted more than 30 breaches — many of them from 2 different pods of whales within 200 yards of the boat. We also got to see a lot of pectoral slaps. We’ve often said that when the wind comes up, so do the whales, and today that theory was proven to be correct. But why?? See today’s Fact of the Day below for a possible answer.
Meanwhile, the conditions were different in Kawaihae, and guests joining us on our Signature Whale Watch Cruise got to see about 15 different Humpbacks throughout the course of the cruise. Most of these whales were just surfacing, spouting and sounding but we did get a wonderful surprise from a pod of two who decided to surface right next to our idling boat. When we deployed the hydrophone during this cruise, we heard some very loud and clear songs.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Why would Humpbacks spend so much time at the surface on a windy day? Humpback whale communication signals comprise two different types: vocal signals, and surface-generated signals such as ‘breaching’ or ‘pectoral slapping’. Recently, researchers have found that humpback whales gradually switched from primarily vocal to primarily surface-generated communication in increasing wind speeds and background noise levels. Why? Surface-generated sounds have energy distributed over a greater frequency range and may be less likely to become confused in periods of high wind-generated noise. Therefore, it may be easier for the whales to communicate to each other by splashing when it’s windy.