The surf was up on Friday, and as is often the case, the Humpbacks seemed to prefer deeper water further from shore (for more on this, see today’s Fact of the Day). On our Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we had to travel 3 miles out before we even saw any whales, but it was worth it, because the first pod we found was a pod of 4 who stayed on the surface a long time. Later, 2 whales popped up within a hundred yards from us, and took a couple of breaths before swimming alongside of us. Though these 2 were still about a hundred yards away, they stayed quite close to the surface, and we could see the reflecting sunlight creating that beautiful turquoise color as they swam by. We also got to see some pectoral slapping from another whale, and those of us who were looking in the right direction at the right time saw 2 breaches about 2 miles from us.
Guests who joined us on Saturday’s Mid-Morning Cruise found themselves surrounded by Humpbacks. We got to see 2 different pods of 2, and several lone Humpbacks. All of these whales were about 150 yards from us (and from each other – except for the two-somes). At first all of these whales were just spouting, lifting their flukes and diving, but after waiting around for awhile, watching basically nothing, one of these Humpbacks surprised us by surfacing just 40 yards off our starboard rail. We all got to hear him breathe…and got great views of him as he dove again. When we deployed the hydrophone, we heard some singing…but it was pretty faint.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Over the decades we’ve been watching whales off the Kohala Coast, we’ve observed this relationship between growing swells and whale sightings occurring more frequently further from shore. Our observations are purely anecdotal, and a cursory survey of the research published on this topic didn’t result in a conclusive confirmation of what we’ve been seeing. But, I did find a study that documented swell events influencing the location of Hector’s Dolphins (and they’re toothed cousins of our Humpbacks) — basically, the bigger the swell, the more time these dolphins spent in deeper water, so for now, we’ll stand by our observations.