Everyone was Looking at Everyone
January 23, 2024
After yet another crazy weekend of weather, we finally got back out onto the water on Monday.
Guests joining us on our Wake up with the Whales Cruise spent some quality time with a Mom, her baby, and their escort. These 3 seemed to be curious about us as they stayed with us for a good 25 minutes, surfacing and swimming right next to us. We also got to see some breaching from Humpbacks who were about 500 yards from us and some tail lobbing from other Humpbacks a couple hundred yards away from us in a different direction. When we lowered the hydrophone it was pretty obvious that our Mom/Calf/Escort pod weren’t communicating vocally, but we heard from a lot of other Humpbacks who were within a couple of miles of us.
After deboarding folks from the first trip, we reboarded and headed out on our Late-Morning Whale Watch Cruise. Once again we saw some adult Humpbacks breaching about 500 yards away but the first highlight of the trip was watching a Humpback calf breaching repeatedly just 100 yards from us. After the baby tired himself out, he, his Momma and their escort spent about 20 minutes with us surfacing between 50 and 100 yards from our idling boat. The second cruise highlight came later in the cruise while we were out of gear. We got to watch a different Mom and calf approach us and swim right under our bow. We weren’t sure who had a better view — us of them, or them of us!
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: All Humpbacks in every ocean of the world are still protected from commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission’s Moratorium (but nations can and do “lodge objections” to this ban). In the US, Humpbacks are also protected by the provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and currently the protection for the Humpbacks off of the Hawaiian coastline is listed as a final rule by NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Department of Commerce. Basically, we need to stay 100 yards from Humpbacks (whether we’re in a boat, on a surfboard, swimming etc.), we can’t operate in ways that alter their behavior, and we can’t intercept them, or block them in, or cut between them. However, if the Humpbacks choose to approach us like they did today, that’s allowed!