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Curious Whales All Weekend Long

Humpback Fluke

March 18, 2024


Though we’re almost at the end of our Whale Watch Season, we’re still seeing quite a few Humpbacks during our cruises.

Guests on Friday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise saw at least a dozen different Humpbacks including three Moms and calves. One of these pairs decided to surface right next to us, and Mom let her baby swim alongside the entire rail of the boat before guiding him away. These two hung around though, so of course we didn’t move — we watched them diving and surfacing every five minutes until all of a sudden, a third whale (the escort) surprised us by surfacing with Mom.

Guests on Friday’s Late-Morning Whale Watch Cruise also spent most of the cruise with Mom Humpbacks and their calves. We easily spotted 5 different Mom/calf duos including two pairs who came up to the boat to look at us while we had our hydrophone in the water, listening in to their world.

Guests on Sunday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise got to know a Mom/Calf/Escort trio pretty well. We spent most of the cruise with these three — Mom didn’t seem to want that escort anywhere near her. We watched her direct multiple pec slaps and tail lobs at the trailing escort before all three disappeared beneath the surface. We were just about to give up on them and search for other whales, when out of nowhere, Mom and her calf surfaced and turned right towards the boat, diving and then surfacing again about 2 feet away from us before slowly swimming down our port side. Not to be outdone, the Escort surfaced right in front of us too and hung out for a bit before all of three of these whales headed off to the south at a good clip. We had just enough time left in the cruise to check out one more Mom/Calf duo before we had to head back to the dock.



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.