There was a lot going on during Thursday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae. As we were leaving the harbor, we had hardly even gotten to the end of our safety briefing before we saw Humpbacks splashing. All those splashes turned out to be from a Mom/Calf/Escort trio who were breaching and breaching and breaching. When we could tear our eyes away from them, we saw a 4th whale a couple hundred yards away, but he didn’t stick around for long (maybe all those breaches were intimidating). And if all of this wasn’t exciting enough…a pod of Spinner Dolphins showed up (maybe attracted by the Humpback action??). Before they swam over to the whales though, they came over to our boat to check us out…but apparently we weren’t nearly as interesting as their cetacean cousins, and they left us to play with (or maybe bother) the Humpbacks.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: According to research conducted in Japan, the peak estrus period for Humpbacks (i.e. when females are in heat) overall, is between the end of January and the end of February, but the peak estrus period for females with a calf appears to be several weeks later. Our frequent observations of pods of Mom and Baby who are accompanied by an escort at this time of year seem to support the validity of these findings. Although, we must take into account that many mature females without calves have already left Hawaii by the beginning of March, so perhaps the males aren’t choosing to join a Mom with a calf, but just accompanying any female they can find.