Thursday was just one of those perfect days on the water (calm seas, and light winds).
We operated two Whale Watch Cruises on Alala and guests on each cruise easily saw 20 different Humpbacks. Highlights included lots of breaching whales (most from a distance, but we got to see a few of them at the 100 yard mark). We were also approached multiple times by Mom/Calf/Escort pods. The mommas we got to see were really permissive, which meant we got some close-up views of their curious calves. Several times, Momma, her calf, and the escort swam right alongside our boat. We also got to watch a couple of escorts tail lob over and over and over again. And even though there was a lot of action on the surface, we took some time on each cruise to lower our hydrophone and each time we were greeted by some very loud and clear Humpback voices.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: All mammals have hair. Humpback Whales are mammals… so where is their hair? Humpbacks have rows of bumps on their chins that we call “tubercles”. Out of each one, sticks a hair that’s about 1/2 inch long that we call a “vibrissa”. Because there’s a nerve ending underneath each hair, and blood flow to the nerve, we know the whales use these hairs to sense something…but we’re not sure what they’re sensing. Quite likely, they use their hairs like cats use their whiskers – for proprioception…or perhaps these hairs work in a coordinated fashion with sensory organs in their chins helping the whales to know when to open and close their mouths around schools of prey.