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Hydrophone Attracts a Whale?

Humpback fluke courtesy of Maggie Wimstra

March 5, 2024


We only operated one dedicated guaranteed Whale Watch Cruise on Monday, and it was a doozy! Guests on our Wake up with the Whales Cruise got to see 5 distinct pods of Humpbacks. Right off the bat we were surrounded by sounding whales, so we got some great views of Humpbacks’ flukes as they lifted those tails to dive. Besides getting to see some full-on breaching just about 100 yards from us, the highlight of the trip was the surprise we got when a Humpback surfaced just about 10 feet from our boat before swimming right past us. Interestingly, we had just stopped the boat and deployed the hydrophone when this surprise encounter happened — maybe our visitor wanted to check out why the whale sounds were so much louder coming from our boat than they were underwater??



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Though no one is really sure how Humpback Whales are able to navigate so accurately through the open ocean to find Hawaii, research conducted on the migratory paths of a few South Atlantic and a few South Pacific Humpbacks between 2003 and 2007 did show that regardless of currents on the surface, storms and obstacles, the humpbacks never deviated more than about 5 degrees from their straight-line paths. Researchers don’t think the whales are relying solely on the earth’s magnetic fields for navigation, since magnetism varies too widely to explain the straight paths the whales swim. They also don’t think the whales are relying solely on the sun to navigate (like many birds do) because the ocean wouldn’t provide an adequate frame of reference. It’s possible the whales use both those methods, combined with celestial markers. Or maybe the whales navigate by following the sounds of each other’s voices.