We didn’t have to travel a lot at all during Tuesday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise. We spent most of our trip with a Mom, her calf, and an escort just south of the harbor. Baby could only hold his breath for about 5 minutes at a time, so we saw him really frequently, and actually, though Mom and the Escort were big whales and probably capable of 45 minute long dive times, they chose to surface every 10 – 15 minutes.
At one point Mom and the baby surfaced just 15 feet off our bow, and while we watched, the baby slid up onto Mom’s rostrum to get a better look at us.
As an aside, we got to see another Baby-and-Mom-Rostrum moment on our Monday Pau Hana Sunset Sail with the Whales. We were watching a Mom and her calf, when all of a sudden the calf made a break for the boat, clearly wanting a better look at us. Momma wasn’t having that though, and she t-intersected her little calf, putting him on top of her huge head to steer him away from our boat.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: The gestation period for a Humpback whale is about 11 months, which means the calves we’re seeing this year were conceived last winter. We can only estimate gestation because oddly, researchers have never observed the same female mating and then giving birth. And actually, until February 16th, 2023, no one has ever filmed a Humpback birth (though a couple of years ago University of Hawaii researchers got their drone in place to witness a baby just a few moments out of Mom’s birth canal). Just last week however, some extremely lucky divers off the coast of Amami-Oshima Island, in Kagoshima Prefecture Japan, not only witnessed part of the birthing process but actually filmed it. Click here to read about their adventure and see the video.