We traveled a ways out to sea on Monday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise to watch a Mom/Calf/Escort pod. Once we arrived at the area where we thought they’d be, we went into idle and waited. Sure enough, these whales surfaced close by, and then they kept surfacing closer and closer. At one point we were watching them just 40 feet from the boat. Baby got kind of excited (or maybe he was just antsy) and we got to watch him do all sorts of cute little tail lobs. After our whales sounded, we turned the boat and headed back to the harbor, and on our journey back to shore, we saw a pair of adult humpbacks surface, spout and sound simultaneously.
Right after deboarding, we reboarded and headed back out for a Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise. This time, we headed south and found a Mom/Calf/Escort again. Once again, the calf was so, so active — tail lobbing, and then breaching repetitively. Mom and Escort were surfacing about every 4 times that the calf surfaced — but they didn’t seem bothered by our presence at all, giving us some great views of them, while they got some great views of us too.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: According to research conducted in Japan, the peak estrus period for Humpbacks (i.e. when females are in heat) overall, is between the end of January and the end of February, but the peak estrus period for females with a calf appears to be several weeks later. Our frequent observations of pods of Mom and Baby who are accompanied by an escort at this time of year seem to support the validity of these findings. Although, we must take into account that many mature females without calves have already left Hawaii by the beginning of March, so perhaps the males aren’t choosing to join a Mom with a calf, but just accompanying any female they can find.