We operated 2 back-to-back Whale Watch Cruises on Tuesday, and the highlight of each was watching a very hyper-active little calf expressing himself (a.k.a throwing a tantrum) at the surface.
On our first cruise, this little calf breached over and over and over again. Mom spent most of her time below the surface, popping up to breathe every 15 minutes or so. We were very surprised the first time her Escort surfaced — but he was on 30 minute dive cycles so we didn’t see much of him. In between breaches, we glanced around and got to see spouts from 8 other whales in the area.
After we dropped off the guests from this first cruise, we re-boarded with a group of Waikoloa Seniors. The Seniors join us every year, and every year we enjoy having them aboard. As soon as we left the harbor entrance, we glanced to our left and, sure enough, saw splashes from our active calf from the first cruise, so we headed that way. Apparently our little calf hadn’t run out of steam, because not only did we see him breach several times, but we watched him do some little head lunges, peduncle throws and tail lobs. And then Mom got involved — we weren’t sure if she was trying to show him “how it’s done”, or whether she was getting fed up with the attentions of the escort, but we watched her pec slap, do a peduncle throw and then several tail lobs…at one point, passing just 25 yards off our bow. After she made her point (we never saw the escort again), both she and the baby quieted down. We took that quiet moment to deploy our hydrophone and heard some great sounds from whales who must have been pretty close-by. On the way back to the harbor, we saw spouts from at least 6 other whales, but we didn’t really have time to investigate them.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: A fully-grown humpback can hold her breath as long as 45 minutes. But usually, in Hawaii they don’t. An average breath hold dive in Hawaii is about 10 – 15 minutes. And a calf can only hold his breath for a few minutes.