We experienced some pretty breezy conditions on Monday, so we only were able to operate our two morning Whale Watch Cruises. Our naturalists are still reporting lots of spouts, but we’ve been noticing that the migration back to Alaska is in full swing. Generally the whales we see later in the season are pods of Mom/Baby/Escort, and lots of lone whales (who researchers are now identifying as alpha males that are optimizing mating opportunities before migrating north). We’re also seeing lots of competitive pods associating and disassociating as they battle to establish dominance among themselves. When we are able to deploy our hydrophone, we’re hearing a lot of singers too. We’ve always maintained that though it’s sad to say Aloha to our Humpbacks, the last three weeks of every season does bring some exciting surface action. Combine cute curious calves with an uneven ratio of males to females, and add in some desperate-to-mate male Humpbacks, and we get the recipe for incredible whale watches!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Starting out as a way to pass time between whale sightings and hunts on the whaling ships in the mid18th century, “scrimshawing” (or the art of carving intricate designs on to whale teeth, bones and baleen) survived until the ban on commercial whaling went into effect. The etched designs were originally produced by sailors using sailing needles, and were colored with candle soot and tobacco juice to bring the designs into view. Today, hobbyists still create scrimshaw — but they use bones and tusks from non-endangered and non-protected animal species like camels, buffalo and even warthogs.