What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? We maintain that it’s spending time with an ocean of Humpbacks!
We didn’t operate any cruises on Sunday, but guests joining us on our two Whale Watch Cruises from Kawaihae on Saturday got to know a Mom/Baby/Escort pod pretty well. During our first cruise, these three Humpbacks were all in resting mode. Baby was on the surface much more frequently and for longer durations than his Mom and the Escort. We did our best to maintain a respectful distance from this trio, but baby did a better job at approaching us. He spent a good 10 minutes within 100 yards of our idling boat before Mom finally decided he had spent enough time exploring and cut him off from us.
During our second Saturday cruise, we found the same trio basically in the same place we had left them after our first cruise. You’d think that would be “par for the course” but we know from experience that Escorts can leave the Mom/Baby pod abruptly…and also, in the space of hour or so it takes us to return to the harbor, de-board, re-board, and head back out again, the Humpbacks can swim quite a long distance. Anyway, we were very happy to see our 3-some on this second cruise. While we were gone, Baby may have spent some of his time nursing as he seemed like he had a lot more energy to burn than he did during the first cruise. We got to watch him squirm around on the surface quite a bit. His uncoordinated twists and turns definitely did the job to get him under water, but he sure hadn’t mastered the smooth sounding dives of the Escort or his Mom.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Those lines we see under the Humpback’s mouth (see the image above) are actually pleats called “Ventral Pleats” that allow for the expansion of her mouth when she feeds. This expansion, combined with her ability to flex her jaws, allows her to hold up to 5,000 gallons of sea water in her mouth at one time — that’s the equivalent of 55,500 cans of Diet Pepsi (or Budweiser) in every gulp — of course, she doesn’t swallow the water she gulps…just the unlucky fish that had been swimming in it.