We ran lots of cruises since my last report — too many to list all the details — so here are some highlights:
- Guests on Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise saw spouts almost immediately after leaving the bay. While we headed to the spouters, one of these whales breached, and luckily, almost everyone was looking in the right place to see it. As we got a little closer, we saw lots of pec slaps and got a couple of great fluke shots as the whales sounded. One of the whales was really big (which is kind of a funny thing to say because all whales could be considered “big”…but this one was “bigger”) — and though we weren’t completely sure, we think we were watching a female (the “big” whale) expressing her feelings about the couple of male whales that were hanging around her. We also saw spouts from several other whales in the area, including a Mom and calf.
- We ran an Exclusive Snorkel & Whale Watch Cruise Friday afternoon using all three of our catamarans On the way to the snorkel site, we encountered Momma Humpback with her young calf just hanging around at the surface. After watching them for awhile, we headed to our snorkel site and found that those of us who were able to dive underwater a few feet could hear the whales singing (always a treat). On the way back to the bay after snorkeling, we saw spouts from two very big whales and watched them sound. After waiting around for about 10 minutes, we got the surprise of the day when these two surfaced and spouted maybe 40 feet from our port rail, and then lifted their flukes and sounded simultaneously.
- We woke up to a beautiful Hawaiian winter day on Saturday…lots of snow on the mountains, beautiful clouds and even a bit of a swell rolling in. Guests on our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise got to enjoy all of this while seeing several different whales. We focused our attention on a pair of whales who were spouting and sounding offshore of Keawaiki (south of the bay). During one of their dives, we lowered our hydrophone and heard some very loud and clear sounds (we weren’t completely convinced we were listening to “our” whales…but there were definitely some singers close by). After we pulled the hydrophone up, we were totally surprised when our duo surfaced much sooner than we expected, and much closer than we expected, giving us great views of their blowholes and great views of their flukes as they sounded…the perfect finale to a wonderful whale watch!
- On Saturday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise we saw 5 different Humpbacks. 2 of them were quite a distance for us, but we saw their spouts. 2 more of them were hanging out at the entrance to the harbor as we were ending the charter (making us a bit late because we didn’t want to leave them)…and the 5th whale was the one we spent the most time with, This whale was on a 22 minute dive cycle, but when she did choose to surface, she surprised us all by spouting close to our idling boat.
- We cancelled Sunday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise because it was raining pretty steadily at Anaeho’omalu Bay. We were able to avoid the rain for the most part on our Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae, but the skies were cloudy and we did hit some patches of drizzly ocean. We saw lots of Humpbacks all over the place during this cruise…most of them were pretty calm, just coming up to the surface to spout. We saw a lot of dorsal fins as these whales slipped back under the surface, and several flukes from other Humpbacks taking deeper dives. One lucky guest who was sitting on the stern bench got to see a complete breach — Captain Kimo saw it too — but everyone else aboard was looking in other directions and only got to see the splash after the whale crashed back down into the ocean.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Why don’t diving whales have to clear their ears like we do when we’re diving (or changing altitude in an airplane)? It turns out that whales have pretty rigid Eustachian tubes (those are the tiny tubes that run between your throat and your middle ear). So, unlike what happens to most of us who have to force air through our collapsible Eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in our ears, the airflow is basically unimpeded for our cetacean friends!