We’ve had calm winds the last few days, and though the swell is still here, the whales we’ve been seeing have been mirroring the wind, mostly just surfacing, spouting and diving.
Exceptions to this calm behavior happened during Wednesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise when seemingly out of nowhere, one Humpback decided to slap his flukes on the water repetitively. We didn’t see any other whales around him, and we doubted his tail lobbing was directed at us as we were more than 100 yards from him when we started. We watched him for awhile until he stopped tail lobbing as suddenly as he had started, and sounded. Later in the cruise we saw another whale do a couple of half breaches, but most of our time was spent watching very calm whales surfacing, spouting and diving.
Thursday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise started with sightings of some spouts out to sea. As we headed towards our spouters, a different pair of whales surfaced about 100 yards from us. We paralleled this duo for awhile, watching them through a couple of dive cycles. And then we saw a breach out to sea…so we turned the boat and headed that way. Once we arrived in the vicinity, we realized we were looking at a pod of two Humpbacks, and also a single Humpback. Our pod of 2 decided to surface again just 40 yards off our starboard bow (we were all surprised when that happened) and we got some great views of them as they passed in front of us. They did a couple of shallow dives before finally surfacing, breathing deeply, lifting their flukes and sounding. After that, we saw another breach (but this whale was too far away for us to investigate in the time we had left). On our way back to the harbor we came across 3 more Humpbacks and got good views of their flukes as they sounded.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Why don’t diving whales have to clear their ears like we do when we’re diving (or changing altitude in an airplane)? It turns out that whales have pretty rigid Eustachian tubes (those are the tiny tubes that run between your throat and your middle ear). So, unlike what happens to most of us who have to force air through our collapsible Eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in our ears, the airflow is basically unimpeded for our cetacean friends!