On the way to see some breaching, pec-slapping whales who were about 7 miles out to sea at the beginning of Thursday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we got side tracked by a few other whales who surfaced much closer inside. Since it was pretty windy and the ocean was pretty bumpy, we decided to watch our closer whales spout and dive. Later on, we had an opportunity to deploy our hydrophone and got to hear some fairly loud singing, so we knew there were more whales underwater in our near vicinity. At the end of the cruise we got to see a different trio of Humpbacks who surfaced briefly (like 25-seconds worth of surface time) but they were just about 100 yards away so we all got some clear views of them before they sounded.
We saw a couple of big spouts early on in our Mid-Morning Cruise, so we headed south to check them out. The whales weren’t together, so we stopped the boat between where we had seen the spouts hoping one (or both) would surface nearby. After waiting around for awhile with no success, we realized the whales weren’t exactly playing the same game we were, so we left the area to check out some other spouts. These spouts turned out to be from Mom Humpback and her calf. Baby was pretty small and was taking advantage of Mom’s huge body to rest upon at the surface (though we did see him swimming around a lot on his own too). Maybe he was playing with her…or maybe he was just looking for a cuddle…but regardless, she was on the surface a lot too, so it didn’t appear to us that she was bothered by her little guy’s antics at all. When we deployed the hydrophone we heard some loud singing so we knew someone was close by, but we never saw the singer at the surface.
Have a great weekend — I’ll send out our next report on Monday.
Ocean Sports Whale 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 as we saw today, 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.