We didn’t have to go far outside of Anaeho’omalu Bay before we saw our first spouts on Wednesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise. In fact, all the whales we got to watch during the cruise (at least the close-by whales) were pretty much directly outside of the bay.
We spent the entire cruise surrounded by 3 different pods of whales. One pod was definitely Momma whale and her young calf. The baby was on the surface quite a bit so we saw lots of little spouts from him and caught several glimpses of his little dorsal fin.
The other two pods were composed of pairs of mature whales. These two different pods were on different dive cycles, so as soon as we saw one pair surface, spout a few times and dive, we knew to look in the other direction to see our other pair surface spout and dive. None of our whales performed any crazy surface activities but we saw each of them pretty often and got some good views of their “humps” when they dove (see the image above), and some good fluke views too.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Generally, the longer a mammal lives, the more likely it is to develop chronic diseases like cancer. Since Humpbacks and many other baleen whales have lifespans equivalent to ours, when you think of it, it’s kind of amazing that they don’t get cancer. Recently researchers investigating this anomaly came up with a possible reason why we don’t see cancerous tumors in big baleen whales. It turns out that cetaceans have many more Tumor Suppressing Genes than humans, and that the turnover rate for these genes is 2.4 times faster than it is in other mammals (in other words, their genes continually “fight” tumor formation). As an aside, the researchers also found that mutations in the genes that are biomarkers for some common human cancers are also correlated with hair loss…and a lack of body hair is certainly noticeable among cetaceans. Interested in learning more? Click here to read the published research article.