Monday brought us some winter weather — well “winter” for Hawaii that is. We were still able to run our Wake up With the Whales cruise on Seasmoke though, and guests who joined us saw some pretty cute stuff. We found 2 different Mom/Baby pods. The first pod came right up to us to check us out while we enjoyed checking them out. The second pod consisted of an active calf who decided to not only breach right near us, but then to roll over on his back, lay on Mom’s rostrum, and slap his little pec fins on the water. Mom didn’t seem bothered at all by his antics.On the way back to the bay, we found a pod of three adults lazily swimming along the surface together. On the Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we also got to watch two different Mom/Baby pods. This time we didn’t see any escorts, but both pods came over to look at us. The second pod surfaced just 10 yards from us!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Though no one is really sure how Humpback Whales are able to navigate so accurately through the open ocean to find Hawaii, research conducted on the migratory paths of a few South Atlantic and a few South Pacific Humpbacks between 2003 and 2007 did show that regardless of currents on the surface, storms and obstacles, the humpbacks never deviated more than about 5 degrees from their straight-line migratory paths. Researchers don’t think the whales are relying solely on the earth’s magnetic fields for navigation, since magnetism varies too widely to explain the straight paths the whales swim, and they also don’t think the whales are just using the sun (like many birds do) because the ocean wouldn’t provide an adequate frame of reference. It’s possible the whales rely on both those methods, combined with celestial markers. Or maybe the whales navigate by following the sounds of each other’s voices. Researchers are still working to solve the mystery.