On Monday’s Breakfast with the Whales Cruise out of Anaeho’omalu Bay, guests saw more than 20 different Humpbacks. A lot of the activity was between 1/2 of a mile to 1 mile away. We did find a Mom/Baby/Escort pod who chose to stay about 120 yards from us for quite awhile.. Baby was mostly hanging out on the surface, spouting and then diving down to mom. And as usual, both adults were surfacing much less frequently than the calf. Mom didn’t seem to be bothered by the presence of the escort — at least she didn’t do anything aggressive on the surface to indicate displeasure. Oh, and our onboard naturalist Jason reports that the boat was followed by a shark for awhile just outside of Anaeho’omalu Bay. Jason didn’t report the shark’s species though. On our Whales and Cocktails Cruise, upon leaving the bay, we spotted a small spout off the Hilton Waikoloa Village so headed that way. When we got there, we could see that baby was accompanied by Mom and an Escort but noticed a few other big whales around. These others must have spotted Mom too, because they began to give chase. Mom and baby both tail lobbed a few times and after diving, surfaced fairly close to us. The two newcomers to the pod must have gotten the message because they disappeared, and Mom, baby and the original escort headed off together.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales play host to all kinds of other animals. Besides the barnacles we often see on the Humpbacks’ flukes and other skin surfaces, the whales can also carry tape worms, lung worms, sinus flukes, and whale lice (which are related to skeleton shrimp) among others. Not all of these parasites actually harm the whale (which means that technically, they can’t really all be considered “parasites”). In fact, the barnacles might actually benefit the male Humpbacks who appear to use the sharp edges of the shells (perhaps inadvertently) as weapons during competitive battles.