A Beautiful Voice

It’s definitely winter on the Kohala Coast with gusty winds and swells…but we think the whales are enjoying the conditions because our Whale Watch Cruises have been reporting some great sightings.HIghlights from Monday include the Breakfast with the Whales, during which guests saw lots of whales including two different calves. We also saw 4 breaches, and when we deployed our hydrophone, we heard what our on board naturalist Mike called “the most beautiful voices ever heard on the planet earth” (and Mike is also a very talented musician, so he knows a beautiful voice when he hears it)! On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw a total of 20 different whales. We watched a competitive pod of 4 whales for quite a while, and saw 4 head lunges, two pec slaps and a peduncle throw from them. This pod swam directly underneath the boat…first we saw them on the surface at the bow, and then they disappeared briefly, only to surface again at our 7:00 position. We saw two cow/calf pairs without escorts and when we deployed our hydrophone, we heard some great singing on this cruise too.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day:   All whales, regardless of species, age, or gender make noises. Only Humpback Whales sing an organized song…and only male Humpbacks sing. We used to believe that the males only “sing” when they are in the warmer waters where they mate, though now that we’re listening more closely, we have heard the males singing a bit in their colder feeding waters (mostly at the end of feeding season prior to the beginning of the migration). So, is the male Humpback singing a mating song? Researchers have observed that female whales will not approach a singing male, so if this is a mating song, it seems to be a pretty ineffective one. I’ll share more theories about the purpose of the Humpback Song in future emails.

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