How does that song go??? “Oh the weather outside was frightful, but the whales were just delightful…” Well, maybe that’s not the exact song, but it sure describes our Wednesday morning Whale Watch Cruise. On the Wake up With the Whales guests saw more than 15 whales and pretty much every surface behavior in the book except for a spyhop. At one point, Captain Will had the boat idling and glanced at the depth finder exclaiming “There are whales RIGHT under the boat”! We barely had time to react before 4 big adult humpbacks surfaced right next to us! We also got to see a big whale breach just 150 yards from us, and lost count watching another humpback tail lob repetitively in front of the Mauna Lani. But it wasn’t all adult humpbacks who were putting on a show…we saw 3 different Mom/Baby/Escort pods too, and each of these calves were joining in on the excitement.On the 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, guests saw 4 different competitive pods. These whales were acting pretty aggressively towards each other — we got to see lots of head lunges, peduncle throws, and bubble streams. We also had a few close encounters with whales surfacing just 100 feet from our idling boat. And though it was still drizzling at 3:00 pm, guests on our Whales and Cocktails Cruise were treated to quite the experience. There were whales spouting in every direction. We were mugged twice — the first time by a pod of adult whales, and the second time by a very curious calf and his mom. Baby circled us several times and even breached twice just 30 feet from our bow.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: According to research conducted in Japan, the peak estrus period for Humpbacks (i.e. when females are in heat) overall, is between the end of January and the end of February, but the peak estrus period for females with a calf appears to be several weeks later. Our frequent observations of pods of Mom and Baby who are accompanied by an escort at that time of year seem to support the validity of these findings. Although, we must take into account that many mature females without calves have already left Hawaii by the beginning of March, so perhaps the males are just accompanying any female they can find.