Monday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise began with a sighting of a calf before we even started our whale talk. Of course we stopped as soon as we saw him, and got to watch the little guy and his Mom for quite awhile. These two were in very shallow water, and Mom surfaced almost every time the calf surfaced. After Mom finally lifted her flukes and the two of them sounded, we lost track of them. So we decided to head out to see what turned out to be a very interesting competitive pod of 3 whales. These 3 took an immediate interest in us, swimming back and forth right under us. Of course that caused us to run back and forth on deck (well…we weren’t running but we were walking as quickly as we could) to follow them. At one point all 3 lined up to take a look at us, and we even got to watch 2 of them spy hop. We also got to watch them interacting with each other, doing all sorts of twisting dives at the surface. Unfortunately, by then, we were already really late, so we had to say Aloha to them and head back to the bay to board guests for our Snorkel & Whale Watch Adventure Cruise.
As soon as everyone got aboard for that cruise we headed out again, hoping we’d find our competitive pod – which actually turned out to be pretty easy as they were breaching a lot. As we motored over, we watched one of the 3 leave, but another whale was making a b-line right towards the competitors and as soon as he got close to the pod, the commotion began all over again….until one of the 3 (presumably that last joiner) left, and the remaining duo calmed down. On our way back to the bay after our water time, we encountered another Mom/Calf/Escort pod. We saw multiple breaches from both Mom and the calf, and Mom even let her calf come over to investigate us. The escort wasn’t having that though, and he rose up right between us and the Mom and calf (who already were close to us)…and he was a big whale.
Guests on our Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise easily saw a dozen different Humpbacks. All of them were in pairs, including 3 different Mom/Calf pods. These pods weren’t interacting with each other, but one of them decided to interact with our boat. We’re figuring that it was the calf who was more interested than Mom, as he kept inching our way. Mom was pretty permissive and let him check us out before she stepped in (or more accurately, “swam” in) to direct him away. We also got to see an adult Humpback head lunging a couple of times before completely breaching from the water. When we found a moment to deploy the hydrophone, we heard some loud, clear singing…so it seems like the male whales returned to the coastline after their weekend in deeper water.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Spy hopping is one of the ways a Humpback can see what’s going on above the surface of the water. Because Humpbacks have really big heads proportionally, their eyes are about a third of the way down their bodies. When the whale spy hops, she rises slowly and vertically from the water, head first. If she’s a fully grown whale, the tip of her rostrum may be 15 feet above the surface before her eyes get there!