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When Does “Cute” Become “Aggressive”?

Peduncle throw

March 20, 2024


The only Whale Watch Cruise we operated on Tuesday was our Wake up with the Whales Cruise which departed at 8:00 from Anaeho’omalu Bay. Guests who woke up early enough to join us on this cruise got to see at least 9 different whales including 2 calves. Where there are calves, there are also Moms…and in this case only one of our Mom/calf duos appeared to be accompanied by an escort. All of the adult whales we were watching had extended bottom times, surfacing and spouting only every 30 minutes or so. The calves, on the other hand, were on the surface a lot. And one of them definitely had some energy to burn, as he breached a few times, lobbed his little flukes, and threw his little peduncle (which was really cute). We also got a chance to compare that cute peduncle throw with a more aggressive peduncle throw, when we saw what looked like a solo adult a mile or so away thrashing the back half of his body around at the surface — which inspired us to ask, “at what age, does a “cute” maneuver become an “aggressive” one? When we deployed our hydrophone today, we heard whales singing and communicating, but there were definitely fewer voices in the range we could pick up than even a few days ago.



Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: Throughout this season, I’ve mentioned the “peduncle throw” many, many times. But what’s a “peduncle”? We call the region between the whales’ flukes and his main body, a “peduncle”…but why such a strange word? I was wondering about the etymology of the word, so I looked it up. Turns out that the word “peduncle” comes from the Latin word “ped” which means foot. It was first used to describe the stalk of a flower, fruit, or tumor. I guess that makes sense…the back part of the whale does sort of look like a stalk, bearing the whale’s wide flukes.