Tuesday morning brought us some excellent Whale Watching conditions. On the Wake up with the Whales Cruise on Manu Iwa,Captain Will reports seeing 30 to 40 different whales. We couldn’t decide if the highlight of the cruise was being mugged by two adult whales for more than 30 minutes — the water was so clear that everyone could see the whales under the boat even when they were 30 feet deep — or watching active calves breaching. Guests also saw 12 breaches within about 1/2 mile of the boat, and lots of peduncle throws too. I guess it’s no surprise that guests joining us on Seasmoke departing from the same location at the same time saw just as many whales. We also had a couple of close encounters with Humpbacks coming up to our idling boat to check us out. We saw about 12 different breaches, and 3 mom/baby/escort pods. When we deployed the hydrophone, we heard some really loud singers so we know there were a lot of submerged humpbacks close by too.
On-board naturalist Brooke reports that the 10:00 Signature Whale Watch from Kawaihae was “fantastic” — with a Mom/Baby/Escort pod staying with the boat for virtually the entire cruise. There was lots of other action going on a bit further away, but when whales are right next to the boat, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything else. And on the Whales and Cocktails Cruise we also saw more than 30 different whales. There was a lot of aerial action going on — nothing super close, but we all got to see multiple breaches, tail lobs and peduncle throws, and three different Mom/Baby/Escort pods.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: According to research results released in 2008 by SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpback Whales in the North Pacific – a research project involving more than 400 researchers in 10 countries) there are approximately 18,000 – 20,000 Humpbacks living in the North Pacific, with the population wintering in Hawaii seeing a 5.5% – 6% annual rate of increase since the early 1990′s.