It took us quite awhile to find whales on Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise, but when we finally did, we got to see a lot of them. We had to go almost 2 miles out to sea before we spotted spouts from what turned out to be a Mom and Calf. The two of them were heading north at a good clip — according to our GPS, they were swimming at 8 knots. We paralleled them for almost 35 minutes and since they were swimming so fast, they were on the surface a lot to re-oxygenate. We weren’t really sure where they were headed with such intent, but we eventually realized that we better turn the boat around and head back to the bay before we found ourselves offshore of Maui.
We got a chance to deploy our hydrophone after we were done watching our Mom/Calf pod and we had to turn our volume almost all the way up to be able to hear any singing at all. So while there are still some singers around, they weren’t anywhere close-by to us today.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: The barnacles called “Coronula diadema” live only on Humpback Whales, and they seem to prefer to live on areas of the whale where the water flow is consistent (chin and fins — see the image above courtesy of Jimmy Polk). Though researchers aren’t sure how the barnacle can even find a whale to live on, there is some speculation that because the barnacles are spawning during the winter in Hawaii, the whales here are swimming in “barnacle larvae soup”. When a whale swims by, those “baby” barnacles chemically sense it, and hop on where ever they can. They use their antennae as “feet’ and walk around the whale till they find a suitable spot which can take quite a while… (if the barnacle were the size of a person, the whale would be 20 miles long). Once they find a spot they like, they flip over and produce tube-shaped cavities in their shells that actually draw in prongs of growing whale skin, holding their position on the whale for life.