Guests on Monday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise wanted to wake the whales up! We spent most of our cruise watching two different Mom/Calf/Escort trios. Each of these pods was just a bit north of the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort (so we didn’t need to travel far).
The calves in each of these pods were logging (for more on this, see today’s Fact of the Day). We got to see those little guys rise to the surface every 5 minutes or so to breathe a few times before sinking below to continue their naps. Their Moms surfaced about every 15 – 18 minutes, and the escorts surfaced even a little less frequently than the Moms.
We got the opportunity to deploy our hydrophone twice during this cruise, and each time, we heard quite a bit…leading us to believe that there are still a lot of whales hanging around the coastline, but that most of the action was going on below the surface.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: What is “logging”? When Humpback Whales sleep, they float just on or under the surface of the water for extended periods of time, not moving (much), breathing every couple of minutes, and resembling floating logs (thus, the term). Interestingly, whales don’t sleep as soundly as we do — if they did, researchers believe that they’d drown. Humans breathe in response to carbon dioxide build-up in our blood, but Humpbacks and cetaceans have to keep part of their brain awake at all times so they remember to breathe in a process called “uni-hemispheric slow wave sleep”. Mallard ducks and some species of seals sleep this way too. The active half of the brain presumably is monitoring breathing and perhaps scanning the surroundings for predators, while the passive half is resting.