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Squirmy Calf and Quite a Big Surprise

Humpback's Barnacle

March 7, 2024


With just about 3 weeks left in our 2023/2024 Humpback Whale Watch Season, we’re still seeing a lot of Humpbacks in our “neck of the woods”.

On Wednesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise we saw spouts everywhere — and we barely had to leave the bay to see them. We spent most of our time with a Mom, her calf and their two escorts. The adults were on the surface a lot, and they also dove a lot so we got some great views of their flukes. Towards the end of the cruise, the baby got really active — doing at least 10 breaches and maybe as many as 6 head lunges. Baby also was really squirmy, showing us his pec flipper and half of his fluke as he rolled around on the surface.

Meanwhile, guests joining us for our Mid-Morning Whale Watch in Kawaihae saw multiple pods of Humpbacks just outside of the harbor. With our favorite dilemma at hand (WHICH Humpbacks should we watch??), we decided to take a left hand turn when we exited Kawaihae Harbor, and ended up watching a Mom/Baby duo for awhile before a pod of Spinner Dolphins veered over to investigate the boat. After that, we meandered between several pods of resting Humpbacks, when seemingly out of nowhere, a Humpback we didn’t even know was there surprised us by breaching just about 50 yards from the boat — and almost all of us got to see it!



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: The barnacles called “Coronula diadema” live only on Humpback Whales, and they seem to prefer to live on areas of the whale where the water flow is consistent (chin and fins). Though researchers aren’t sure how the barnacle can even find a whale to live on, there is some speculation that because the barnacles are spawning during the winter in Hawaii, the whales here are swimming in “barnacle larvae soup”. When a whale swims by, those “baby” barnacles chemically sense it, and hop on where ever they can. They use their antennae as “feet’ and walk around the whale till they find a suitable spot (which can take quite a while… if the barnacle were the size of a person, the whale would be 20 miles long). Once they find a spot they like, they flip over and produce tube-shaped cavities in their shells that actually draw in prongs of growing whale skin, holding their position on the whale for life.