It was definitely one of those height-of-the-season kind of days for guests joining us on our Tuesday Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae. Throughout our 90 minutes of ocean time, we saw a lot of different Humpbacks — most in pods of two, but a lot of them were hanging out by themselves too. None of the Humpbacks we watched were particularly active on the surface (although we did get to watch one of them pec slapping for awhile). Though I’m sure we were projecting a bit, it seemed to us that the Humpbacks in our area were simply enjoying the beautiful weather and each other as much as we were.
Just one day later – on Wednesday morning – we were met with building winds. When we started the cruise, the trades were blowing a good 25 knots (which is doable) but while we were at sea, we experienced some 60 knot gusts. Even with that craziness, we saw a lot of Humpbacks during our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. We all were looking in the correct direction to see a full breach about 1/2 mile in front of us off of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Of course with the strong winds, it was impossible to get anywhere near that breacher before he disappeared from sight. But that was actually ok because a pod of 3 adult Humpbacks travelled with us for a good 20 minutes. They were on 5 minute dive cycles, so we got a chance to see them on the surface 4 different times. We also got to see quite a bit of tail lobbing and pec slapping from Humpbacks that were further out to sea, but none of us wanted to venture away from the minimal lee the shoreline provided to visit those whales.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Research suggests that most Humpbacks who come to Hawaii don’t spend the entire winter with us. An average stay lasts between a month and 6 weeks. Possible exceptions to this rule include dominant males, who may spend more time here to optimize mating opportunities, and females who give birth after arriving in Hawaii. They might spend a little longer here so that their calves can grow large enough to successfully swim back to Alaska.