By now you’ve undoubtedly heard that the Governor of Hawaii is imposing a 14 day quarantine on anyone entering the state beginning on March 26th. And this past Saturday, the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) suspended all commercial boating operator permits for vessels in state waters. With no end date in sight on either of these restrictions, our 2019/2020 Whale Watch season has come to an end.
It was a wonderful season, and we were seeing Humpbacks on our final Whale Watch and Winter Snorkel Adventure on Friday, so we know there are still quite a few Humpbacks cruising along our coastline. Will they notice the sudden lack of boat traffic and wonder what happened to the humans? Will the calves get bored without having the occasional boat to investigate? Will the whales listening to each other’s songs notice the diminished noise interference?
We’ve temporarily suspended all of our operations both on the ocean and on land, but we invite any of our Hawaii ‘ohana to email us to let us know about any whale encounters you may have (whether you’re seeing them from the shoreline, or out on your own boat). We’ll do our part to share your stories…so this may not be our final Whale Report of the season after all!
I want to send out a Mahalo Nui to all of you who’ve read these reports, and a special Mahalo to those of you who took the time to comment or ask questions about the Humpbacks. And with all the activities to choose from when you’re on the Big Island, we’re honored that so many of you have chosen to join us for adventures at sea this season – because of you, we’ve been able to run cruises on the Kohala Coast since 1981, and we appreciate each and every one of you.
We look forward to sharing more adventures with you as soon as we can.
Stay safe and stay healthy!
Mahalo and a hui hou kakou,
Claire…and the entire Ocean Sports ‘Ohana
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Research published in 2012 documents that mature-sized female humpbacks associate almost exclusively with mature sized males, and have a significant preference for the largest of these males. Mature sized males, however, were less discriminating and would associate with all females regardless of size (though the males that associated with immature females were generally the smaller males). Finally, immature-sized males associate with immature-sized females. This “assortative paring” has rarely been documented in mammals – so why would whales use size as a determining factor for mate choice? Since males aren’t involved in taking care of their calves, and since research demonstrates that a bigger calf is much more likely to survive, size is much more important to a female Humpback. The sex differences in size preference by mature whales probably reflects the relatively high costs of mature females mating with small or immature males compared to the lower costs of mature males mating with small or immature females. Body size appears to influence the adoption of alternative mating tactics by males too. Smaller mature males avoid the costs of competing for the highest-quality females since they probably won’t be successful and instead focus their attentions on smaller females that may or may not be mature, but at least will allow association.
And if it would help sum all that up in layman’s terms…for female Humpbacks, size matters.