It’s kind of difficult to sum up this past weekend of Whale Watching Cruises. We ran a lot of trips, and we saw a wide variety of behaviors and lots and lots of whales on every cruise. Highlights included seeing 5 different Cow/Calf/Escort pods – including one pod that swam right under us in just 25 feet of water as we were returning to the bay on Friday’s Wake up with the Whales. We also got mugged by a baby, his mom and their escort on the 10:00 Whale Watch. On Friday’s Whales and Cocktails, we got to watch a chase ensue with 5 males and Mom and Baby. We weren’t sure if it was one of the males doing all the peduncle throwing and tail lobbing 100 yards from us, or if it was Mom expressing her displeasure at all the attention.At one point she turned towards the boat and led the whole pod right in front of our bow.
Though we went from two different locations and two different times on Saturday’s morning trips, guests saw very similar activities. Both Seasmoke and Alala were approached by very active calves. Seasmoke’s calf brought Mom and the Escort right over for a close encounter with our idling boat…and Alala’s calf decided multiple breaches were in order. Guests on both boats also saw multiple spouts, tail lobs and peduncle throws a bit further away.
On Sunday’s first Alala Cruise, we were so focused on watching a competitive pod of 5 Humpbacks chase each other around that we barely noticed any other whales (though I’m sure there were a lot in the area). We got to see breaches, head lunges and tail lobs from this group. We also had an extremely close encounter when two of the pod popped up right next to our idling boat, surprising us all. On the way back to the harbor, a very active calf breached and peduncle threw multiple times just about 100 yards from us. Driving away from that action was one of the hardest things we ever have to do…but right after we dropped the folks off from that whale watch, we turned around to take out a bunch of great people who were using the cruise as a fundraiser for the West Hawaii Clinic. We found our active baby again…and this time got to see Mom and an Escort. We also saw lots of other spouts, a couple of pec slaps, and even a few breaches. When we deployed the hydrophone, it sounded as if one whale was singing directly into our microphone.
Hope your weekend was as great as ours!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Though we’ve mentioned before that only male Humpback Whales “sing”, all Humpbacks make noises and use these sounds to communicate with each other. Researchers have witnessed cooperative feeding behaviors among the Humpbacks apparently “triggered” by sound, and have also witnessed Humpback Cows (moms) apparently ignoring some sounds made by their calves (researchers called these sounds “goo-goo, ga-ga” noises), but responding immediately when the calves made particular squealing noises. So it appears that Mom recognizes her baby’s voice!