We spent the beginning and end of Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise dodging the rain drops. The first torrential downpour happened as we were boarding our guests, but luckily by the time everyone got aboard the rain had stopped, so we dropped our mooring and headed out to sea. We were barely outside of the bay when we spotted a Mom/Calf duo. Unfortunately for us, these two were resting peacefully close to shore just outside of where the waves were breaking, so after enjoying them for a moment, we continued on to deeper (and safer) water. While dodging more little spots of rain, we got to see lots of blows and lots of flukes from different adult Humpbacks in various directions. We saw a couple of breaches and pec slaps from what turned out to be a competitive pod of 3 whales, but as we approached, they slowed down their activities a bit.
On our way back into the bay, we found a Mom and Calf again (probably the same duo from the beginning of the trip). Once again, they were resting just outside the breaking waves, so once again, we had to kind of skirt around them to keep everyone safe as we crossed the reef to enter the bay.
And for a fitting end to the cruise, just as we were securing the boat to the mooring, it started pouring again..drenching us all, and letting us experience the wet world of the whales. But it is Hawaii after all. so almost as soon as the rain started, it stopped, and by the time everyone was back on the beach, the sun was shining.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: All mammals have hair. Humpback Whales are mammals… so where is their hair? Humpbacks have rows of bumps on their chins that we call “tubercles”. Out of each one, sticks a hair that’s about 1/2 inch long that we call a “vibrissa”. Because there’s a nerve ending underneath each hair, and blood flow to the nerve, we know the whales use these hairs to sense something…but we’re not sure what they’re sensing. Quite likely, they use their hairs like cats use their whiskers – for proprioception…or perhaps these hairs work in a coordinated fashion with sensory organs in their chins helping the whales to know when to open and close their mouths around schools of prey.