The surf was up on Friday, but we were able to time the sets of waves surging onto the beach and boarded everyone safely for our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. Throughout the course of the cruise, we spotted spouts from at least a dozen Humpbacks. We spent considerable time paralleling a grayish colored Humpback who was on the surface and spouting every two minutes. We also watched a pod of 3 whales for awhile. Two of them were synchronized in their surfacing and spouting, and the third was on his own schedule, but he was very close to the synchronized pair (it made us wonder what that was all about…was he an official chaperone…or more likely, just waiting for a chance to get closer to one of the pair)?
Later in the cruise, we saw a spout at our 9:00, and just as Captain Jason began turning the boat towards that whale, he breached just 75 yards from us! We’re pretty sure everyone on the boat was looking in the correct direction to see it, but we’re also pretty sure that not everyone who was trying to get the breach on video, managed to get the whole thing. Towards the end of the cruise, we saw another pair of breaching whales, but they settled down before we could get to our magic 100 yard mark.
We were hardly out of the bay on Friday’s Pau Hana Sunset Cruise when we saw the tell-tale tiny spout from a Humpback calf, so we headed over to investigate. Mom and her baby were just hanging around…baby surfaced every 3 minutes or so, and Mom much less frequently. As we waited and watched, they didn’t seem too interested, or at all dismayed by our presence, and they eventually surfaced about 75 yards from us. While we were watching them, we saw another pair of Humpbacks about 200 yards from us on the other side of the boat, and another pair a couple of hundred yards past them. Actually, for the first half of our cruise, there were spouts pretty much everywhere we looked. And after all those sightings, the Humpbacks seemed to disappear, so we hoisted the sails and enjoyed the (voggy) Kohala Coast sunset.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Just how difficult is it for a 40 ton, 45 foot long animal to “fly” from the sea in a total breach? Observers have reported seeing Humpbacks breach after only two kick strokes for propulsion. Based on the formula for calculating horsepower, measurements of laminar flow around cetacean skin (how water flows past the skin of the animal), girth and drag in the water, the breaching whale is producing between 1500 and 1700 horsepower in order to “catch air”. We used to think it was closer to 5000 horsepower, but with the aid of a calculator and more accurate measurements, we’ve been able to recalculate …still, try this yourself next time you’re in the water. We’re betting you won’t get very far! Also…why do we still measure things in “horsepower”?