On Wednesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise Captain Ryan caught a glimpse of a spout way out to sea. It was a small spout, so we figured the whale might have been a calf, but at least while we watched, we saw no evidence of Mom (maybe our whale was a lone yearling). Anyway, we watched the whale sound, and spent some time getting in the correct place to get to see him again when he next surfaced. But that whale fooled us all when he chose to surface and spout behind the boat. After that single blow, he sounded again and that was the last we saw of him. Since we were so far from shore, we couldn’t wait for him to surface another time, so we started up the engines and returned to the dock.
On another note, while we were watching our Humpback up north, we got a message that another Humpback breached off shore of the Mauna Lani, so yes, the Humpbacks are still here!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Traditionally, the Hawaiian people did not hunt whales. It may be because they didn’t like the taste of the meat, or it may be because the spirit of the whale was so powerful. But if a toothed whale did end up on a beach (whether it died at sea and was blown ashore, or actually beached itself), only the ali’i (royalty) were allowed to possess any part of the whale. Carvings made from a whale’s tooth called “Niho Palaoa” brought mana (roughly defined as a “spiritual force”) to both the carver and the wearer of the pendant. It’s very possible that the upward curve of the carved tooth (see the picture above) represents a tongue — referencing the importance of discourse in the lives of the ali’i, and the braided cords of hair represent the genetic links between the wearer and his ancestral ‘aumakua (deities).