On Friday’s Breakfast with the Whales Cruise we got to see some interspecies interaction. Shortly after exiting Anaeho’omalu Bay, we saw a lot of splashing just south of us. It turned out that a competitive pod of 6 whales were creating most of the splashes – but right in the middle of all those whales was a pod of Spinner Dolphins. The whales were really active on the surface, tail lobbing, head lunging, pec slapping and peduncle throwing. The dolphins were doing their typical jumps and spins. When they heard us, some of the dolphins left the whales to surf our bow wake (giving us a great view of their swimming skills). We stayed with this mélange for most of the cruise. Towards the end, two of the whales actually broke away from the competition and made a b-line for us, surfacing at our bow and mugging us for awhile. On Friday’s Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we saw a LOT of breaching in the distance, but were delighted when a Mom/Baby pod decided to come over to check us out.
On Saturday’s Breakfast with the Whales we saw spouts from lots of different whales, but our on-board naturalist Gary reports that it wasn’t till the end of the trip that we saw two very close breaches, causing all of us (guests and crew) to “lose our minds”! On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 6 different Mom/Baby/Escort pods. When we stopped the boat to deploy the hydrophone we heard some very clear and loud sounds so we knew there were a few submerged whales close by. At the end of this cruise, we were surrounded by 6 or 7 (Captain Will thinks it was 6, but our naturalist Brooke counted 7) very big whales. The water was calm and crystal clear so we could see those beautiful turquoise reflections from their white pectoral fins as they swam along side of us.
On Sunday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we were lucky enough to witness the formation of a competitive pod consisting of 8 whales. On the 10:00 Cruise, we were approached by a Mom/Baby/Escort pod. We saw more than 20 whales during that cruise, and at least 8 breaches (sometimes it’s difficult to keep track). And finally, on Sunday’s Whales and Cocktails we got to watch a calf practice his breaching. He must have thought all the encouragement coming from our boat was interesting, so he came over to check us out before scurrying off to catch up to Mom.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: In the early part of the 19th century, whales were hunted for more than just their blubber (which was used primarily as lamp oil). The meat was used mainly for fertilizer, the baleen was used for umbrella and corset stays, and their organs were processed to extract vitamins.