Monday was a fantastic day for watching Humpbacks. We found a Mom and calf before we even got to the mouth of Anaeho’omalu Bay at the beginning of our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. Baby was interested in our boat and Mom let him surface just about 20 feet from us. After about 25 minutes of hanging around with those two, we saw a disturbance in the water in front of the Hilton Waikoloa Village so we headed north.
It turned out that all the commotion was caused by two escorts trying to impress a different Mom Humpback with her calf. Mom constantly maneuvered in between her baby and her pursuers, protecting her calf from all the head lunging, pec slapping, and shoving going on. The adults were so close together that we couldn’t really tell if it was just the two escorts that were performing all those wild behaviors at the surface or if Mom was expressing her annoyance (or excitement) too.
I have to be honest…during most Whale Watch cruises, there’s quite a bit of “down-time” during which we’re waiting for a Humpback (or Humpbacks) to surface and spout. This cruise was definitely an anomaly as there wasn’t a single moment from the time we left the bay until the time we returned where there wasn’t at least one Humpback on the surface we could see.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback whales can’t cry — they don’t have tear ducts (they don’t need them — their eyes are always bathed in salt water) but they do have glands on their outer corneas which secrete an oily substance that helps to protect their eyes from debris in the ocean.