The theme of Thursday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise was “Meet Momma & her Baby”.
We saw our first pod of Mom/Baby Humpbacks about 3/4 of a mile off the Kawaihae break wall. These 2 whales were busy interacting with each other, both on the surface and underwater. The whole time we watched them, they never strayed from the 100 yard mark…just surfacing, spouting, and diving repetitively. While we were watching them, we deployed our hydrophone and heard absolutely nothing (which was a bit surprising).
Then, a SECOND pod of Mom and Baby Humpback surfaced about 150 yards from us. We waited patiently to see what would happen, and these two kept popping up closer and closer to us. At one point they were just 50 feet from us, surfacing and swimming right along the rails giving themselves the opportunity to check us out (all the while giving us some great views of the two of them too)!
Why were these 2 pods of whale so close to shore? See Today’s Fact of the Day for a possible explanation.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Dr. Alison Craig and her associates observed that female Humpbacks in Hawaii with calves in tow swim 75% faster when they’re being chased by males in deep water than when they’re being chased in shallow water. As water depth decreased so did the number of males following the mother, making females most likely to be found alone with their calves in the shallows. So why is this observation important? Dr. Craig suggests that it is unwanted male attention which causes the females and calves to increase their swimming speed, in turn requiring the mothers to supply their calves with more milk to compensate for the extra energy they’ve used. Since the females aren’t feeding in Hawaii, the researchers theorize that these female Humpbacks are actually seeking shallow water not to avoid predators… .but to avoid the energetic consequences of male Humpback sexual harassment!