The 2021-2022 Humpback Whale Season off the Kohala Coast is quickly coming to an end. We’ve been out a few times since my last report, and haven’t seen (or heard) much of anything from our Humpback visitors.
Our good friends from the Hawaii Marine Mammal Consortium took their research boat out on Sunday from Kawaihae Harbor and reported seeing a mom and calf near Red Hill and a surface active pair farther north. They lost track of this second pod, but later heard from a fishing boat that 2 Humpbacks were spotted all the way up near Lapakahi State Park — probably the same pair that they had been watching.
We took some folks out on Seasmoke on Monday for our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise, and also got to see some Humpbacks. We first spotted a big spout and a little spout north of Anaeho’omalu Bay. We headed towards our spouters, and spent the rest of our cruise watching Momma Humpback and her calf from a respectful 250 yards away. These two were in a resting mode, surfacing, spouting and disappearing under the surface repetitively. While we watched these two going about their business, we kept our eyes open for other spouts and splashes, and unfortunately saw nothing else at all. Don’t get us wrong — we were happy we had the opportunity to see our pair, even if they weren’t all that active. Towards the end of our cruise, we kind of lost track of our two whales…but just as we were about to head back, Mom completely surprised us by breaching not just once, but 2 times, about 40 yards off our stern.
FYI…with the lack of Humpbacks in our area, we’re notifying all our guests that beginning Wednesday, March 30th we will no longer be guaranteeing sightings on our 2 Morning Whale Watch Cruises. We’ve given everyone the opportunity to cancel with no penalty…or to join us in the search! I’ll keep reporting sightings as they occur for the next couple of weeks.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: According to researchers, the sleep process for a Humpback is most likely very similar to how their little toothed cousins, the dolphins, sleep. EEG readings from sleeping bottlenose dolphins show that the dolphins shut down half their brains at a time to rest – a process called “uni-hemispheric slow wave sleep”. Mallard ducks and some species of seals sleep this way too. The active half of the brain presumably is monitoring breathing and perhaps scanning the surroundings for predators, while the passive half is resting. Bottlenose dolphins sleep approximately 33% of the day, but stay asleep for only a couple of hours at a time.