February 6, 2024
We operated 2 Whale Watch Cruises from Anaeho’omalu Bay on Monday.
Guests on our Wake up with the Whales Cruise saw evidence of at least 2 dozen different Humpbacks less than 700 yards from us (Captain Will estimated he saw evidence of 3 dozen different Humpbacks — which just goes to show you how difficult it is to keep count of sightings and also how many Humpbacks are hanging around our departure locations these days). At one point, the winds had calmed enough that we could stop the boat and deploy our hydrophone. While we were listening to Humpback “chatter” a Mom Humpback and her calf surfaced nearby and then swam right alongside the boat clearly looking at us while we were looking at them. We also had good sightings of 2 other Mom/calf pods accompanied by escorts during this trip.
Our Mid-Morning Whale Watch Cruise was just as “whale-filled” as our first cruise. During the course of the cruise we probably saw evidence of at least 30 different Humpbacks, and when we deployed the hydrophone we heard lots more voices. We saw several breaches (some from just 150 yards) and spent some time watching a competitive pod which began with 3 whales and ended with 5 whales. These competitors spent considerable time underwater, but when they surfaced they were breathing hard (we heard and saw very loud and forceful spouts). We watched them roll around on top of each other a lot while they were on the surface, and we even got to see one of them swimming sideways for a considerable amount of time.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales play host to all kinds of other animals. Besides the barnacles we often see on the Humpbacks’ flukes and other skin surfaces, the whales can also carry tape worms, lung worms, sinus flukes, and whale lice (which are related to skeleton shrimp — see the image above) among others. Not all of these parasites actually harm the whale (which means that technically, they can’t really all be considered “parasites”). In fact, the barnacles might actually benefit the male Humpbacks who appear to use the sharp edges of the shells (perhaps inadvertently) as weapons during competitive battles.