Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Weekend Whale Watching Culminates with a Hypertensive Event

Breaching Humpback

February 12. 2024


So. Many. Humpbacks. It was quite the weekend for Whale Watching on the Kohala Coast. Here are a few highlights.

  • Friday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise began with some great views of a Mom/Calf/Escort trio. After watching them for about 20 minutes, we headed over to a competitive pod who was on the move. We couldn’t quite keep up with them, so we stopped to deploy our hydrophone. While we were listening to the whales, two adult Humpbacks surfaced fairly close by, surprising us all.
  • On Friday’s Late-Morning Whale Watch Cruise we found a competitive pod of seven Humpbacks. We paralleled this pod for most of the cruise and got to see a lot of thrashing and splashing around at the surface, and quite a bit of aggressive posturing. When they dove, they didn’t stay underwater very long, and when they surfaced we heard lots of trumpeting from these clearly over-exercised and out of breath Humpbacks. If the average adult Humpback weighs somewhere around 65,000 pounds, we spent the cruise about 100 yards away from more than 2200 TONS of whales…breathtaking!
  • There were Humpbacks all around us during Saturday’s Mid-Morning Cruise from Kawaihae. After exiting the harbor we took a left hand turn and spent the rest of the cruise between the Mauna Kea Beach Resort and the harbor. We saw some big adult whales breaching about 700 yards from us and watched some smaller Humpbacks head-lunging from about that distance too. We also watched a Mom Humpback with her very small calf and a trailing Escort swim off towards Maui for awhile before reversing course and heading right back towards our boat. We weren’t sure if Mom was giving her calf a bit of exercise or if she was actually trying to figure out how to get that Escort to leave them both alone.
  • Finally, on Sunday’s Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae we got a chance to meet 3 different Mom/Calf pods. One of these babies was extremely small — we’re thinking it was the same calf we had met on Saturday’s trip — but this time, there was no Escort (so maybe Mom’s evasive moves on Saturday did actually work). We also found a competitive pod in front of the Mauna Kea Resort. While we were watching, one of the whales in that pod did 6 back-to-back breaches. If you’ve never been close to a Humpback whale who is breaching, it’s probably difficult to understand just how exciting it is…so suffice it to say, there’s no way I can even come close to explaining how we all felt watching those 6 back-to-back breaches, but our collective blood pressure STILL hasn’t returned to normal!



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day:  A Humpback Whale doesn’t reach sexual maturity till it’s about 35 feet long (age 5 or 6 for females, and a little bit later for males). Researchers have observed that most Humpbacks in the North Pacific don’t begin calving successfully till they’re at least 10 years old – the mean average is 11.8 years. In the North Atlantic, Humpbacks generally give birth for the first time between ages 5 and 7, reaching sexual maturity earlier too.