Breaching, Head Lunging and Pec Slapping


Friday started out especially well for guests on our 10:00 Whale Watch from Kawaihae. Throughout the cruise, we saw a total of 8 different Humpbacks, but one of them — not fully grown, but not a calf — decided to breach 3 times just 120 yards from the boat. We all got to see those breaches, and a few of us got some great photos (hopefully someone will share with us). We also had a curious whale surface 50 yards in front of the boat while we were idling. After he dove, we sat in the same place for a long time, and lo and behold, the same whale surfaced at our stern. On Friday’s Whales and Cocktails, we found ourselves surrounded for awhile by 4 competitive whales. These guys were posturing for each other, trumpeting, pec-slapping, and even breaching. We saw 4 other whales during this cruise too, but we couldn’t take our eyes off the action from our first pod.
The highlight of Saturday’s 10:00 Cruise was a competitive pod of 5 whales. We watched them chase each other around, and saw some great head lunges and fluke dives before two of the group split off, dissolving the competition.
And on Sunday, we ran 4 cruises just for Whale Watching as well as our Snorkel and Sunset Cruises. We saw whales from all of the cruises. Highlights included sightings of 6 different Humpbacks during our Wake up With the Whales Cruise, a very young calf (with folded over dorsal fin) off shore of Hapuna Beach on our 10:00 Cruise, a big competitive pod with breaches and pec slaps on that same cruise, two whales who decided to swim underneath our idling boat on our way to the snorkel sight during our Snorkel Cruise, and sightings of 15 different whales on our Whales and Cocktails Cruise (including two breaches).
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: We used to think that the whales that arrived on the coast of the Big Island spent their Hawaii-time here with us. Research and close observation of individuals has proven us wrong. While the Humpbacks seem to prefer to spend most of their time on the lee sides of islands and in water less than 600 feet deep, they will travel between the islands (not in any particular direction that we’re aware of)….females who have calves travel less frequently though.

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