Guests on Wednesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise got to know a Humpback calf really well. We first saw the little calf spouting just outside of the bay in the beginning of our cruise. As we headed over to investigate, baby started playing around…doing little dives down to Mom, flipping around sideways, resting on his back on her rostrum, and lifting his little flukes and pectoral flippers. It took awhile before we saw Mom at the surface, but she eventually made her presence known with a big spout. After watching all this action for awhile, they both took a dive, and we thought they were leaving us, but boy, were we wrong…they surfaced again just about 50 yards from us, heading our way. Of course we stayed in place, and both of them cruised just below the surface right in front of our bow. Since the water was really calm, we could see their entire bodies clearly. After this excitement (and when I say “excitement”, I’m not kidding…if you’ve ever seen a whale come over to check you out, you know what I mean), an escort surfaced. At first he was pretty laid back, but something spurred him into action, and he started pursuing Mom. She positioned her baby in front of her, and we watched her push her calf with her head as she swam away from the escort. And while all that was going on, a pod of Spinner Dolphins cruised past the whales, and spent some time playing in our bow wake.
We saw a Mom/calf pod on the way to our snorkel site during our Snorkel & Whale Watch Adventure Cruise, but the highlight of this trip happened on the way back to the bay after snorkeling. We were under sail on a northerly tack when we spotted a breaching calf about 300 yards away at our 11:00. Baby kept it up, alternating breaching and head lunging as he and his Momma swam towards us, eventually passing us on our port side. No one kept an accurate count, but we think we saw at least 10 breaches and an equal amount of head lunges from this little guy before he finally tuckered out.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: The Nootka (also known as Nuu-chah-nulth) who lived in the Pacific Northwest were great whale hunters, but one member of their tribe held the role of “Whale Ritualist” whose job it was to call the carcasses of dead whales floating at sea to drift onto shore.