My goodness…what a great time we had during Tuesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise!
We weren’t too far out of the bay at the beginning of the trip before one of our guests saw a spout to the north, so we headed that way. When we got closer, we realized we were actually looking at a pair of Humpbacks. As neither of these whales was very big, our head naturalist Greg guessed both were sub-adults..
We paralleled the pair for awhile, watching them surface and spout. They didn’t appear to be diving too deeply (they didn’t show their flukes), and they surfaced together every 15 minutes or so. While we were waiting for them to reappear during one of of their dive cycles, we took the opportunity to deploy our hydrophone, and we got to hear our first whale songs of the season!
After listening for awhile, our whales surfaced behind us, so we turned the boat, and got to see them create a bit of commotion right under the surface, at which point they split up, and one surfaced about 20 feet behind us, clearly checking us out, while the other surfaced about 50 feet away at our 10:00.
At this point, we knew we had to start back to the bay, so we turned the boat and were just leaving the area when the whales, who had decided to rejoin, completely surprised us by breaching virtually simultaneously…the first breaches we’ve seen this season. But that wasn’t all…as we bid these two a fond Aloha, we saw another whale (or maybe it was a pair of whales) breach a couple of times further out to sea.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: We used to think that the whales that arrived on the coast of the Big Island spent their Hawaii-time here with us. Research and close observation of individuals has proved us wrong. While the Humpbacks seem to prefer to spend most of their time on the lee sides of islands and in water less than 600 feet deep, they will travel between the islands (not in any particular direction that we’re aware of)….females who have calves travel less frequently though.