As usual, after a weekend of February whale watching, we have way too many sightings to report everything, so here are a few highlights:
- Guests on Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise were “mugged” by a single whale who broke off from a 4-some. While the other 3 interacted at the surface, she came to the stern of our boat – within touching distance – and wouldn’t leave. Was she using us as a safe harbor from the attention of the three escorts? Was “she” really a “she”? With this whale at our stern, we couldn’t start our engines, and the way things were going, we might be out there still, but luckily for us, a strong south wind came up, and blew us far enough away that we could safely start up and drive back to the bay (though we were 45 minutes late returning).
- Guest on Friday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise spent time with a Mom/Baby/Escort pod off shore of the Mauna Kea Resort in about 80 feet of water. All 3 of them approached us and surfaced about 50 feet away, spouting, and then diving again. On the way back to the harbor, we saw lots of splashes, breaching, and tail lobbing out to sea but didn’t have time to investigate.
- We don’t just have great sightings on our Whale Watch Cruises. Case in point: on Saturday’s Snorkel & Whale Watch Adventure Cruise, we not only got to watch a Mom/Calf/Escort pod on the way to the snorkel site (you can see it too...one of our guests brought a drone aboard and filmed from above) but we found ourselves in almost the same predicament as we were during Friday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise. We were getting ready to sail back to the bay when a lone whale surfaced right behind the boat. Once again, we could see a competitive pod of 3 whales in front of us, and once again, our lone whale was either using us for shelter, or perhaps checking us out to see if we were competition. Check out the image above to see what that was like.
- Guests joining us for a Private Sunset Cruise on Saturday were seeing a competitive pod as soon as we left the Bay, We watched these 3 whales head lunge, pec slap, and dive all over each other for a long time. As we were watching, a pod of Spinner Dolphins swam between us and the whales – maybe hoping we’d start driving so they could play with us. But those competing Humpbacks kept our interest and the Spinners moved on. We eventually had to tear ourselves from the action so we could hoist the sails, but were rewarded with getting to watch a different competitive pod at the end of the cruise while the sun was setting.
- Finally, on Sunday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae, the winds were blowing. We tried to stay in the lee for as much of the cruise as we could, and though the winds finally caught up with us, we did see several whales. The closest blows were a couple hundred yards away, but we saw that tell-tale blue glow from a Humpback swimming just under the surface only about 30 yards from us. We also saw a Mom and her calf on the way back to the harbor. And we though we couldn’t get close enough to identify it, we saw some sort of ash–colored toothed whale with a blunt face. No one got a photo of it, so that sighting will have to remain a mystery.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Before whaling was banned internationally, Humpback whales’ livers were processed for their oil, which contained a lot of vitamin A. A fully grown Humpback has a liver that weighs between 800 and 1400 pounds. An adult human’s liver averages between 3.2 and 3.7 lbs. (which means our livers are proportionally the same size to our overall body weight as theirs are).