We woke up to a very rainy day on Friday, so Captain Sam cancelled our Wake up with the Whales Cruise (we’re pretty sure the whales don’t mind the rain as they’re wet anyway, but we didn’t want our guests to get soaked)! We contacted everyone scheduled for the cruise, and luckily all of them had the flexibility to rebook for Saturday’s Mid-Morning Cruise departing from Kawaihae Harbor.
The weather was much better on Saturday, and we were fortunate to see a Humpback spouting shortly after we left the harbor, so we turned the boat and headed her way. Before we even got to the 100 yard mark, we saw a tiny puff of a spout — our first calf of the season! Momma and her baby were in resting mode, with baby surfacing to spout every couple of minutes and then diving back down to her Momma. Mom was on the surface much less frequently, but about every 15 minutes we got to see her break the surface, spout a few times, and then lazily slip under the water. She didn’t seem too concerned about whether her baby was on the side of her body that was closer to us or the side of her body opposite from us (she wasn’t blocking him), but then again, the baby never veered far away from her to investigate us.
Mom was a big Mom, so most likely this wasn’t her first “rodeo”.
We spent over an hour watching our duo — and we weren’t the only ones interested in them. While we watched, a small pod of Bottlenose Dolphins cruised over to check out the Humpbacks (and our boat).
Whale Fact of the Day: A Humpback Whale doesn’t reach sexual maturity till it’s about 35 feet long (age 5 or 6 for females, and a little bit later for males). Researchers have observed that most Humpbacks in the North Pacific don’t begin calving successfully till they’re at least 10 years old – the mean average is 11.8 years. In the North Atlantic, Humpbacks generally give birth for the first time between ages 5 and 7, reaching sexual maturity earlier too.