Ok…so I know that in yesterday’s report I mentioned I wouldn’t send out another one until next week, but I just have to share the adventures we had aboard Friday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise with you.
We left the harbor aboard Alala at 9:30 under cloudy skies…the only clear spot we could see was to our north, so Captain Jason headed that way. As we were cruising up the coastline looking for Humpbacks, a pair of Bottlenose Dolphins decided we were interesting enough to check out. Since we rarely see Bottlenose Dolphins, we were as interested in them as they were in us. They swam parallel to us (about 40 – 50 yards away) for quite some time before peeling off for their own adventures. After that, we continued up the coast, and just as we were about to turn back towards the harbor, we saw a Humpback spout, and then slide under the surface.
Of course we had to see the whale again, so we positioned the boat close to where we thought she’d next surface and waited…and waited…and waited. After about 45 minutes, we got to see her surface, spout twice, and slip back underwater (she didn’t show her flukes on either dive). At this point, we knew we were going to be late returning to the dock, so we checked with our guests, and everyone agreed it would be exciting if the whale surfaced near us again.
Once again, we played the waiting game, scanning all around us for 25 minutes…which became 35 minutes…and eventually, after 45 minutes, we realized this Humpback wasn’t going to be surfacing again anywhere close to us, so we reluctantly headed back to Kawaihae.
But the cetacean sightings weren’t over for us because on the way back in, we got surrounded by a very large and active pod of Spinner Dolphins. The Spinners approached the boat and rode our bow and stern wakes, and we got to see quite a few leaps and spins from them too.
So, even though we saw 3 different species of cetaceans on this cruise, and even though we stayed out an extra hour, we still thought the Humpback sightings weren’t “quality sightings”, so we called the trip a fluke and invited everyone aboard to join us again on another Whale Watch Cruise for FREE!
Mahalo…and look for the next Whale Report next week!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Spinner Dolphins are actually related — they’re all classified under the scientific order “Cetacean” (derived from the Greek word, “ketos” which translates to “Monster”)…but they’re in different sub-orders. Humpbacks are baleen whales, classified in the sub-order called “Mysticete”, while the Dolphins are toothed whales, classified in the sub-order “Odontocete”.
For those of you etymologists out there, “Mysticete” either translates from the Greek “mystacoceti” meaning “mustached”, which is a pretty accurate description of how the baleen in these whales’ mouths appears…or is a mistranslation from the Latin “mustiketos” which means “Mouse Whale” — perhaps one of the earliest examples of a scientist (in this case, Aristotle) demonstrating he understood the concept of irony. “Odontocete” shares a common root word with “orthodontist”…and means just what it sounds like — “toothed – whale”.