Quiet Humpbacks on Monday

Our Monday morning Humpbacks were a quiet bunch of whales. On our Breakfast with the Whales Cruise, we saw a LOT of whales – all in pods of two, and interesting, all of them were adults (no calves). All these whales were pretty calm, so we saw a lot of spouts, a lot of dorsal fins, and a lot of flukes. At the end of the cruise, one whale did perform a peduncle throw (which researchers believe is a significant act of communication – see below).On the 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw very similar activity — lots of pods of two who were just spouting at the surface before diving again. We did get to see one very identifiable whale who we watched for awhile. This whale had a chunk gone from his fluke (so he was easy to keep track of). Towards the end of the cruise, this particular Humpback must have gotten curious about all the shouts of encouragement coming from our boat as he surfaced close-by to check us out.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Why would a whale waste the energy to throw the back half of his or her body out of the water in a Peduncle Throw (sometimes repetitively)?? Since the whales aren’t telling, all we can do is try to interpret their behavior in terms of what else is going on in their lives at that moment. We know that Humpbacks very rarely eat while they’re in Hawaii, and since a Peduncle Throw is a huge expenditure of energy (if you don’t believe me, try it yourself next time you’re in the ocean), it’s got to be important to the whale. Throwing half of yourself out of the water results in a huge splash and might be a way to communicate location, health, excitement, aggression or irritation to near-by whales. Especially if the near-by whale happens to be so near that he gets landed upon!

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