On our way to see a solo Humpback spouting offshore of Hapuna Beach on Monday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise, we were completely surprised by a calf who surfaced 100 yards directly off our bow.
Of course Captain Sam put the boat in neutral right away, and we spent the rest of the morning watching this little guy and his Momma.
Baby surfaced every 15 minutes or so, and Mom came up to breathe every 35 minutes. The entire time we watched them we saw no sign of an Escort — which is getting more and more unusual as we get later in the season.
Our favorite part of the cruise (besides listening to some very loud whale voices through the hydrophone) was when Mom lifted the baby onto her rostrum (her big head) and literally pushed him towards the boat (you read that correctly — TOWARDS the boat — not away from us)! And not only did Mom decide she wanted her little one to check us out, but she decided that the two of them should check us out from 25 yards away. We all agreed that we were honored to have earned her trust.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Researchers have observed that Humpback calves are very playful, investigating all kinds of objects in their environment (including our boat as we saw today), interacting with their moms, and even interacting with passing pods of dolphins. But for as many calves as we see in Hawaii during the winter, we never have observed the calves playing with each other. Though we’re not sure why this is, perhaps the new moms won’t allow a calf not her own to approach, because she doesn’t want to feed the wrong one.