What a weekend we had…so much to report that I need to just pick and choose between cruises so I can get it all in!
On Friday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we found Mom and Baby right away, followed by a sort-of competitive pod of two who were joined briefly by another two. Apparently they didn’t like what they saw in each other because the pod (which now numbered 4 whales), broke up and all went their separate ways — except for one. This guy totally surprised us by surfacing 20 feet off our bow.
We had a lot of surprise encounters with different pods of two whales during Friday’s Signature Whale Watch Cruise. Though the dive cycles for each of these pods were all about 20 minutes, each of the pods decided that when it was time to surface, they should be about 30 yards away from us. It’s difficult to explain how startling and exciting the sounds of those spouts are when they’re so close-by, and so unexpected.
We ran Saturday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise from Kawaihae to Anaeho’omalu Bay, so we covered a lot of ocean. The trip began with sightings of Mom and her baby. As we headed south, we found many more pods of two adult Humpbacks spouting and sounding. And finally towards the end of the cruise, just before we got to the bay, a Humpback decided to make a surprise visit very close to us at our 5:00. We watched as he looped around to our 6:00 just under the surface (we could see those beautiful pectoral flippers reflecting the light), and then reappeared with another whale at our 5:30ish. It was a great finale to a great cruise!
Sunday’s Wake up with the Whales started kind of slow, but we eventually saw some spouts from Mom and her calf. While we were watching them, we saw a whole bunch of spouts which turned out to be from a pod of 5 or 7 or 8 whales (we really couldn’t tell). This pod spent a lot of time underwater, but we did see a lunge or two on the surface from them. Then, much to our surprise, a different pod of two adult humpbacks started breaching about 250 yards from us…and then…our competitive pod decided it would be a good idea to pass very close by our bow, all on the surface. Seeing that many whales, that close up is just so exciting that it’s almost impossible to describe — you just have to come out and see for yourself. On Sunday’s Signature Whale Watch, we could see a lot of surface activity (breaches and splashes) from whales in the wind-line a couple miles from us, but we decided to stay in the lee as it was a much more comfortable ride. We found a Mom and her calf up shallow, and saw lots of spouts and flukes from other whales. We ran a Private fund-raising cruise for the West Hawaii Clinic right after the Signature Cruise, and though the wind had died down, most of the wild surface activity was still a couple of miles away. We counted as one whale breached 21 times about a mile and a half from us, but our closest sightings were of a Mom and her calf, and 10 other adult humpbacks (most in pods of 2) spouting and sounding.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: A baby whale, called a “calf” looks so small and cute when seen playing with her Mom. But everything is relative…when the calf is born, she can already be 10 to as much as 15 feet long, and she weighs 2000 to 3000 pounds! The calf is about 26 feet long when it’s weaned (at 10-11 months).