We have lots to report from our weekend of whale watching, so I’ll get right to it.
- On Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise, we saw lots of spouts all around us, but chose to go check out the whales to the north of the bay. The highlight of the cruise was watching a Mom/Calf/Escort pod about 75 yards from us, who then decided to surprise us by surfacing right next to the boat. After they all took a good look at us, all three of them sounded, resurfacing back at that 75 yard mark again.
- On the way to our snorkel site during Friday’s Snorkel & Whale Watch Adventure Cruise, we got to watch a Mom/Calf/Escort pod at our 9:00, while a competitive pod of 4 whales was creating quite the commotion on the surface at our 12:00. While snorkeling, those of us who could free-dive heard some really great whale songs. As we left the area after snorkeling, a whale surfaced right outside of us…we were guessing that this whale was our singer.
- Guests on Friday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise saw at least 20 different whales, including two Mom/Calf Escort pods (one on each side of the boat, so everyone aboard got some “convenient” whales to watch) that stayed with us for 25 minutes. We were also escorted by a pod of Spinner Dolphins, and saw a Monk Seal! When we could tear our eyes away from all this action, we could see lots of tail lobbing and breaching from whales on our horizon line.
- We were seeing spouts before we even left the mooring on Saturday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. Throughout the course of the trip, we easily saw two dozen different Humpbacks, including a Mom/Baby pod and a small competitive pod chasing down the coastline.
- On Saturday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we saw spouts at our 11:00 and our 1:00 just outside of the harbor. But before we could investigate further, we saw a lot of commotion including a peduncle throw, pec slaps and tail lobs from a competitive pod at our 9:00 so of course we headed over to watch. Other highlights included a breach about 60 yards from the boat that most of us missed, and a huge surprise when a whale we hadn’t been aware of surfaced at our 1:00 just about 20 yards from us. We watched as this whale swam on the surface right down our starboard rails and crossed our stern. He spouted at least 8 times before finally disappearing from sight. Right after this trip returned, we boarded a group of 2nd graders from Holualoa School, their parents and a few teachers for a dedicated Educational Whale Watch Cruise. The keiki were sort of interested in seeing whales, but to be honest, playing Hide & Seek on the boat won out over anything that could have possibly happened on the water. The parents, teachers, and our crew got to see some great stuff though. Besides getting to see a close encounter followed by 5 breaches from 2 whales, we also got to see a pod of Spinner Dolphins join the Humpbacks. Usually when we see this kind of inter-species interaction, it appears to us that the Humpbacks are kind of irritated by the dolphins. It didn’t happen this time though, as our pod of 2 whales surfaced a few times right in the middle of the dolphin pod.
- Finally, on Sunday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we were heading to see some spouting whales pretty far to our north when we were surprised by a pair of whales who surfaced, spouted and sounded fairly close by. Of course we stopped the boat, figuring we’d get to see them again. But after waiting and waiting and waiting, and seeing more blows behind us, we finally decided that our close-by whales had disappeared and we turned back towards the spouts we were seeing (fully expecting that “our” two whales would surface as soon as we left — but they didn’t). On the way back to the harbor we saw two other pods of two Humpbacks on the surface just about 100 yards from us — one pair at our 12:00 and the other pair at our 9:00.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Though the Humpbacks we see average between 40 and perhaps 50 feet long, there is anecdotal evidence that the largest Humpback killed by whalers was 88 feet long. This Humpback was taken in the Caribbean.