It definitely felt like a winter day at Anaeho’omalu Bay on Wednesday morning. The trade winds were blowing, there were lots of high clouds, and the temperatures were in the low 70’s (ok..we know…we don’t really have the right to complain)!
During our hour and a half at sea, guests on our Wake up with the Whales Cruise got to see at least a half dozen different whales, though we have seen as many as 8. We were surprised twice when Humpbacks chose to surface, spout, and sound fairly close to the boat. It’s always a treat for us to get to hear that spout as well as see it.
We found a competitive pod of 3 Humpbacks right outside of the harbor during our Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise. We paralleled these whales as they charged down the coastline for about 20 minutes. At one point, all three of them sounded, and while we were waiting for them to surface, we were completely surprised when a curious calf and her permissive Mom surfaced instead, right next to the boat. These two stayed with us — the calf investigating, and her Mom hanging out close by — for another 20 minutes. We also got to see spouts a bit further down the coastline, but we couldn’t leave Mom and baby when they were that close to us.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Traditionally, the Hawaiian people did not hunt whales. It may be because they didn’t like the taste of the meat, or it may be because the spirit of the whale was so powerful. But if a toothed whale did end up on a beach (whether it died at sea and was blown ashore, or actually beached itself), only the ali’i (royalty) were allowed to possess any part of the whale. Carvings made from a whale’s tooth called “Niho Palaoa” brought mana (roughly defined as a “spiritual force”) to both the carver and the wearer of the pendant. It’s very possible that the upward curve of the carved tooth represents a tongue, referencing the importance of discourse in the lives of the ali’i, and the braided cords of hair represent the genetic links between the wearer and his ancestral ‘aumakua (deities). See the photo of a Niho Palaoa above.