We started our weekend with some strange stormy weather on Friday. On our Breakfast with the Whales Cruise, we spent most of our time with a Mom/Baby/Escort pod. Baby led Mom right up to the boat a few times, and though the baby seemed pretty big and had a fairly straight dorsal fin (indicating he was not a new-born) both Mom and the Escort were fairly small (by Humpback standards), suggesting to us that they were both fairly young. We did see some head lunging about 800 yards from us too. On the 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 15 different Humpbacks, and 4 different Mom/Baby pods.
On Saturday’s Breakfast With the Whales we saw every behavior we could hope for on a whale watch including multiple breaches from a very energetic calf, adult tail lobs and peduncle throws, pec slaps, and even some adult breaches!
And on Sunday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we found 3 different Mom/Baby/Escort pods, including one with a very, very small calf. Each of these pods decided to swing by the boat, so we had some great close encounters. We also saw a double breach from two adult whales (always exciting) and towards the end of the cruise we found a competitive pod who were doing a lot of trumpeting, head lunges and bubble blowing beneath the surface. At one point we were downwind from a spout and it really smelled kind of horrible. We finished the weekend of Whale Watching with a Whales and Cocktail Cruise from Anaeho’omalu Bay. We got to see several Mom/Calf pods, and they got to see us too (we had lots of close encounters). We also saw a lot of tail lobbing, breaching, and peduncle throws. And when we dropped our hydrophone into the water, we were surprised by the clarity of the songs we heard. Oh…and at the end of the day, the sun came out again, making for a beautiful end to the weekend.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: According to research conducted in Japan, the peak estrus period for Humpbacks (i.e. when females are in heat) overall, is between the end of January and the end of February, but the peak estrus period for females with a calf appears to be several weeks later. Our frequent observations of pods of Mom and Baby who are accompanied by an escort this time of year seem to support the validity of these findings.