We had a fun weekend with the Humpbacks. On our Friday 10:00 am Whale Watch, we saw 5 whales, 6 tail lobs, 2 single pec slaps and one double pec slap. We watched a Mom and her baby for a long time, thinking we’d see an escort, but either he was able to wait us out, or they were unaccompanied. On our 3:00 Whales and Cocktails trip, we had a slow start…we were all looking in every direction to find the whales, but when we finally found them it was incredible! A pod of three (Cow/Calf/Escort) took a special interest in us, circling our boat and surfacing about 5 feet off the port side! On Saturday, guests aboard our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales saw 12 different whales. Most of them were loners…surfacing just to breathe as they swam along the coastline, but we did see 3 breaches in the distance. We also encountered a Cow/Calf/Escort pod that were joined by two other “wanna-be” escorts, who put on quite the surface chase. On our 3:00 Whales and Cocktails cruise we saw just 4 Humpbacks, but that was because we couldn’t move the boat for about 45 minutes as were being mugged by 2 whales! We got to look one of the whales in the eye, as he spy-hopped, looking at us. We saw some tail lobs and breaching in the distance on this trip too. On Sunday, guests aboard our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales trip saw 7 whales — 2 of whom swam right under us for more than 7 minutes (time seems to stop for us when that kind of stuff is going on). We also saw some tail lobbing in the distance and a couple of breaches.
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Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Though no one is really sure how Humpback Whales are able to navigate so accurately through the open ocean to find Hawaii, research conducted on the migratory paths of a few South Atlantic and a few South Pacific Humpbacks between 2003 and 2007 did show that regardless of currents on the surface, storms and obstacles, the humpbacks never deviated more than about 5 degrees from their straight-line migratory paths. Researchers don’t think the whales are relying solely on the earth’s magnetic fields for navigation, since magnetism varies too widely to explain the straight paths the whales swim, and they also don’t think the whales are just using the sun (like many birds do) because the ocean wouldn’t provide an adequate frame of reference. It’s possible the whales rely on both those methods, combined with celestial markers. Or maybe the whales navigate by following the sounds of each other’s voices. Researchers are still working to solve the mystery.