We had a good weekend of whale watching….here are a few highlights:
- On Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise, there were whales everywhere — surfacing, spouting, and sounding. We were very surprised towards the end of the cruise when a pair of Humpbacks surfaced just 50 feet in front of us before disappearing. Of course we put the boat in neutral and waited. We saw them next at our 1:00…and then at our 7:00. This time they swam right up the port rail, taking a look at us, as we looked at them (one of them had very white pectoral flippers, so he was easy to track).
- On Friday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we also saw lots of different Humpbacks. We couldn’t decide on which was more fun to watch though…Momma Humpback and her calf breaching repeatedly both at the beginning and end of our charter…or Momma Humpback and her calf interacting with a pod of very interested Spinner Dolphins. To us, it usually looks like adult Humpbacks get pretty irritated by the dolphins swimming all around them, but with baby, it’s a different story….PLAY TIME!
- On Friday’s Pau Hana Sunset Cruise with the Whales, the winds were switching around all over the place, and it took about 45 minutes before we saw any Humpbacks closer than “horizon-distance”. But once we did, we saw them a lot. At one point there were whales surfacing on either side of the boat about 250 yards away, and later we got to watch a pod of two who surfaced nearby every 7 or 8 minutes.
- Guests on Saturday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise saw 6 different Humpbacks in the near vicinity. Three times, while we were just sitting and listening to the whales singing from our hydrophone, different pods of two whales surfaced about 100 – 150 yards from us. Interestingly, once these different pods surfaced, they chose to stay on the surface for 30 seconds or so, giving us some great views. At the end of our cruise, when we were just outside of the bay, we were surrounded by a big pod of very active Spinner Dolphins.
- We departed on our Saturday Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Anaeho’omalu Bay just as our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise was ending, so we were also surrounded by that pod of interested Spinner Dolphins (see the photo above, courtesy of our good friend Rodger Berge). After the dolphins moved on, we started searching for Humpbacks. We saw spouts here and there, but all the whales were quite a distance away. We got within a couple hundred yards of where we thought a pod of two had sounded, but after waiting and waiting and waiting for them to surface, we finally gave up and headed to where we were seeing some other spouts. Shortly after we left, our original pod surfaced behind us. Though we did see whales, (and we even heard singing through our hydrophone), we never got very close to any of those Humpbacks, so we called the trip a “Fluke” and invited everyone aboard to join us again for FREE.
- We spent Sunday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise watching 3 different pairs of Humpbacks. All of them were adults, and all of them were surfacing, spouting and sounding nearby. Our closest encounter happened while we were sitting still and listening to whale sounds through the hydrophone, and one of these pairs surfaced off our stern fairly close by, and then 5 minutes later surfaced at our 10:00 only about 60 feet away. After spouting once, they each took a dive, and we could actually see the turquoise glow from one of the two as he cruised below our stern fairly deeply. We weren’t sure what happened to his buddy…but he must have been cruising even deeper because shortly after seeing the first whale, they both surfaced and spouted near each other again.
- We had fun on our final cruise of the weekend – our MId-Morning Whale Watch Cruise. Over the course of the trip, we saw 6 different adult Humpbacks. All of them were in pods of two, and 4 of these whales decided to surface, spout, and sound just about 30 yards from us. Since the whales were on 10-25 minute dive cycles, we saw them frequently, and since most of their dives were fluke-lifting dives, we all got some great views of those very wide tails.
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, and even interacting with passing pods of dolphins. But for as many calves as we see in Hawaii during the winter, we have never 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.