A Weekend of Surprises
December 18, 2023
Welcome back to the Ocean Sports Whale Watch Report! Just as in past years, I’ll be posting (and emailing) a synopsis of our Humpback sightings on a regular basis throughout our official Whale Watching Season (December 15th through March 31st). For those of you interested in taking a deep dive into whale trivia, I’ll also include a “Fact of the Day”. If you have questions about the Humpbacks that you don’t see answered in these posts, feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to provide you with the information you’re seeking — I’ll even feature your question in a future post!
Our weekend of Whale Watching started out rather inauspiciously with a “Fluked” trip on Saturday. We think it’s a fluke when we don’t see Humpbacks during the season, and though we searched and searched and searched, we didn’t see a single spout during our Saturday Mid-Morning Cruise, so we honored our guarantee and invited everyone aboard to join us again for FREE on another Whale Watch Cruise.
But as unpropitious as Saturday’s trip turned out to be, Sunday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise was just the opposite! Guests joining us on this trip got to watch a trio of Humpbacks spouting multiple times. Our first sightings of them were from just about 500 yards away but eventually, they ventured closer to our boat. All three of these Humpbacks were adults (no calves in the pod, and no small yearlings either). Most of the time we watched them, they were on a very predictable 7 minute dive cycle — which meant we got to see them at least a half dozen times. They weren’t really travelling while they were underwater either, so we all knew where to look to see them surface. Of course, just when we thought we had their pattern down pat, they chose not to surface at that 7 minute mark. They didn’t surface at the 8 minute mark, and they didn’t surface at the 9 minute mark. We figured they might have moved on so we were about to do the same thing when they totally surprised us at the 10 minute mark surfacing just 50 yards from us.
After this surprise close enounter, our trio switched to 10 minute dives through 3 more cycles — and then a fourth Humpback joined the pod. We wished we could have stuck around to see whether his appearance jostled their social order, but unfortunately, our cruise time was ending and we had to head back to the harbor.
Oh…and though we spent the trip watching a lot of spouting at the surface, we did get to see one full breach from about 300 yards away.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpbacks can be found in all of the oceans of the world — and researchers now recognize 14 distinct populations of Humpback Whales. The whales we see here each winter are part of the North Pacific population. “Our” whales feed in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska during the summer months and swim the approximately 3000 miles to Hawaii each year presumably for social reasons…giving birth to their calves and mating.