We had some great times on the water on Wednesday. Our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales and our 3:00 Whales and Cocktails both departed from Anaeho’omalu on Manu Iwa. The whales seemed happy to see us as both trips report lots of sightings and too many surface activities to keep track of. When we deployed the hydrophone on each of those trips, we heard some very loud and clear singing and vocalizations. But it was on our 10:00 Whale Watch from Kawaihae that we saw a complete turn-around from the day before. On this trip we saw 14 whales, 4 breaches, 2 pec slaps and one double pec slap from a calf (we love to see calves attempt this maneuver — they look so uncoordinated and cute while lying on their backs, flipping their pectoral fins around). We saw 2 pods of Cow/Calf/Escorts and one competitive pod consisting of 2 males and a female (at least that’s what our naturalist Jonathan was able to infer, based on the whales’ behaviors). We had one close encounter, and one mugging on that trip, and we deployed the hydrophone twice. The first time, we heard lots of whales, but the second time the sounds were incredibly resonant which means our singing whale was pretty close by.
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Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Yesterday, I promised to tell you the rest of the Humphrey the Humpback Whale story. After successfully luring Humphrey to the ocean in 1985, researchers were a little surprised to see him back in San Francisco Bay again in 1990. This time, he got stuck on a mud flat south of Candlestick Park. Rescuers from the Marine Mammal Center and the US Coast Guard used a cargo net and a boat to free him. Then, he was guided out of the Bay to the ocean by a flotilla of boats behind him full of people banging on steel pipes (a Japanese fishing technique called “oikomi”). At the same time, those same attractive sounds of Humpbacks feeding that lured Humphrey out to sea in 1985 were broadcast from boats in front of Humphrey. It worked. Since then, Humphrey’s story has been memorialized in a number of children’s books, a movie and he even has a Facebook page!