I hope you had a very Mele Kalikimaka (if that’s a day you celebrate)!
Both of our Kalikimaka Whale Watching Cruises departed from Anaeho’omalu Bay on Wednesday. Guests on Seasmoke’s Wake Up with the Whale Cruise got to see one Humpback, but he never got closer to us than about 700 yards, and all he was doing was surfacing, spouting, and diving. We tried deploying our hydrophone during this cruise, and though we could make out some sounds, they were very faint. So…yes, we saw a Humpback, and yes we heard Humpbacks too, but it really wasn’t good enough for us, so Captain Will called the trip a Fluke, and invited everyone aboard to join us again for FREE.
As Seasmoke was returning to the bay at the end of that first cruise, Manu Iwa was departing for the Mid-Morning Cruise. Of course we shared our sighting info between the boats, but as it turned out we didn’t really need to, as guests on this cruise got to see 3 different Humpbacks. Each of these whales appeared to be traveling solo, and each was in a pattern of surfacing, spouting a few times, and then either sounding or just slipping under the surface again. It didn’t appear to us that the three whales were even aware of each other, but since our observations are limited to what we can see from the decks of the boat, for all we know, these whales could have considered themselves all a part of the same Kohala Coast Kalikimaka pod.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Yesterday I promised I’d outline the rules regulating human-Humpback interaction. In 1966, the International Whaling Commission banned most nations from hunting Humpbacks. In the U.S., the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 provide additional protection to the whales. And though the Humpbacks are now no longer “officially endangered”, unless you’re operating under a federal research permit, approaching Humpback whales within 100 yards (300 feet) by any means (boat, swimming, kayaking etc) or within 1,000 feet from aircraft is still prohibited. It’s also prohibited to approach the whales closer than 100 yards by interception (i.e. you can’t “hop-scotch” in front of them), or do anything that would disrupt their “normal behavior” or “prior activity”.