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Simon Says

Mom and Baby Humpback

January 20. 2024


Guests on Friday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise from Kawaihae saw spouts from Humpbacks in every direction. We spent the beginning of the cruise with a Mom/Calf/Escort pod who were all resting peacefully just outside of the harbor entrance. After watching them surface, spout and dive several times, we decided to leave them be and turned the boat to the south.

We didn’t have to travel far before we found another Mom/baby pair. Actually, these two whales were swimming just outside the southern entrance to the harbor (where the smaller boats have slips). We got to see a lot of surface activity from these two whales — lots of pectoral slaps and lots of rolling around each other. For awhile it looked a lot like Momma was teaching her baby to slap the water with a flipper because Mom would do it followed by baby, followed by Mom again., followed by the baby. Of course maybe the baby was just acting like a baby and Momma was playing along with him, doing the Humpback version of “Simon Says”.



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Researchers have observed that Humpback calves are very playful, investigating all kinds of objects in their environment (including our boat), interacting with their moms, and even interacting with passing pods of dolphins. But for as many calves as we see in Hawaii during the winter, we never have observed the calves playing with each other. Though we’re not sure why this is, perhaps the new moms won’t allow a calf not her own to approach, because she doesn’t want to feed the wrong one.