Guests on Wednesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise spent some time with Momma Humpback and her calf. We originally learned that they were in our area when another boat called us to share the news that they had seen these whales to our north.
It took us awhile to find the pair, but when we did, we were able to figure out which way they were headed so we paralleled them for awhile. Eventually they (and we) stopped. We took that opportunity to lower our hydrophone but we heard nothing! While we were stopped, baby came over to investigate, surfacing just about 5 feet from our bow. Mom surfaced close by too (though not that close — she was about 40 feet away at her closest pass). Interestingly, when Mom sounded, she lifted her flukes, positioning herself for a deeper dive, though she must have switched positions once she was underwater as her dive cycles weren’t particularly long.
We found the same Mom and calf duo on our Snorkel & Whale Watch Adventure Cruise. They were in a completely different place than where we had left them on our first cruise, but we knew it was the same pair because when Mom lifted her flukes to dive we recognized her distinctive fluke pattern. We were able to stay with them long enough to watch baby through 3 different breathing cycles, but eventually had to leave them because it was our turn to get into the water.
Finally, on our Pau Hana Sunset Cruise, we didn’t see any Humpbacks, but we did see dolphins, and they weren’t our commonly seen Spinner Dolphins. These animals were solid gray, and bigger than Spinners. While we watched, they seemed to be swimming together in two small pods of 6 or 8, and one of those pods actually came over to the boat to ride our bow wake. We even saw one of them jump into the air. After looking at our “Dolphin Guide”, our head naturalist Greg noted that their dorsal fins were shaped like the dorsal fins of Spotted Dolphins, but since he didn’t see any spots on the dolphins near us, he posited that we were watching Bottle Nose Dolphins.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Where do the Humpbacks go when they migrate away from Hawaii? Most of them appear to migrate directly north, to feeding grounds off of northern British Columbia and southeastern Alaska waters. But they can migrate to just about any location round the Pacific Rim — one humpback satellite-tagged in Hawaii spent the summer in Russian waters.