Female Humpback Uses the Boat for Protection

Guests on board Monday’s 10:00 Whale Watch from Anaeho’omalu Bay got to see a competitive pod of 6 whales about 3 miles offshore of Keawa’iki (south of the Bay). A very big female (with her calf) appeared to be using our boat to shield herself from those 4 male humpbacks (we didn’t mind – we were happy to be of service). The whole pod actually stayed with us for awhile – and we saw a lot of head lunges from the group. We also saw about 15 other whales spouting and fluke diving throughout the trip. Over the years we’ve noticed a pattern of Humpback arrivals that seems to be playing out this season as well,. Every year we notice an abrupt increase in population density at the end of the first week of January (we’re not sure if the Humpbacks are timing their arrival with the departure of all our holiday visitors….).
On the Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we saw 6 whales, but the one that stole the show was a very active sub-adult. This whale must have breached 10 times right in front of us. He also did multiple pectoral slaps and tail lobs, and surfaced more than once right next to the boat – and this activity went on for close to 40 minutes, making for a really exciting trip!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day:  One of the questions we get asked most frequently on whale watches, is “Why are the whales doing that?” (and for “that”, you can substitute any whale behavior we see…breaches, head lunges, peduncle throws…etc). Since we really can’t ask the whales (well, we can ask, but they aren’t answering) we tend to interpret behavior based on what else is going on in the whales’ lives at that particular time. Humpbacks are in Hawaii to mate, calve, and take care of their babies. Aerial behaviors often result in big splashes which may be a great way for a whale to communicate size, status, location, excitement, aggression, irritation, or health to other whales (or to something/someone else he hears on the surface).

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