We had a great time on yesterday’s whale watches. On our first trip, we had two whales spend 45 minutes with us just 10 feet from the boat. We also got to see a couple of breaches about 50 feet from the boat, and lots of tail lobs about the same distance. And then, according to our on board naturalist Mike, the next whale watch was even better! The winds had calmed down a bit and we found the same two whales from the first trip, who still wanted to look at us. They were joined by 3 other whales, so now we had 5 Humpbacks curious about the boat. And on the next trip, we had 4 whales spend an hour and a half with us, surfacing, spouting, and even tail lobbing very close by! Of course, all day long we saw lots of other whales around us, but when we’re being “mugged” by curious Humpbacks, we tend to focus our attention on the whales right next to us!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Yesterday, I promised to explain how Humpbacks keep their cool when swimming through our warm Hawaiian Waters. During prolonged exercise in warm water, excess heat is shed by increasing circulation to a network of capillaries (in Latin they’re called “retia mirabiliia” which translates to“miracle network”) near the surface of the Humpbacks’ flippers, flukes and dorsal fin — the excess heat is shed to the external environment. In fact, many researchers believe that whales lifting their pectoral fins into the air, or resting with their flukes exposed vertically are actually trying to cool off: