Humpbacks Mug Us and We Wonder….


With another Whale Watch Season wrapping up here on the Big Island, we’re beginning to think the remaining whales are getting kind of lonely. At least that would explain what happened to us on our Wake Up With the Whales Cruise on Monday. As we were leaving the bay, Captain Mike saw a couple of spouts to the north, so we headed that way. As we approached the Mauna Lani Resort area, mom and baby humpback surfaced and then chose to come over to the boat to investigate. They must have liked what they were seeing as they spent the next hour or so hanging right around us. We call it a “mugging” when the whales take such interest in the boat, choosing not to leave us alone. All of us onboard got great views of mom and baby as they surfaced repeatedly right at our bow, and swam repeatedly right under us. And you gotta’ know that when the whales are that close we can’t help but make a lot of noise…which makes us wonder what the whales are thinking about the whole thing. Do they stay with us because they’re curious about the noise and wonder why it keeps occurring…or have they figured out that by coming up right alongside of us, they can they cause those “tiny colorful things floating on the surface” to make a lot of noise?? Are they playing with us? Wish we knew…
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: We now know that not every Humpback who survives the summer season in Alaska will choose to migrate back next winter. Based on information compiled by our favorite researcher Chris Gabriele and her cohorts for the National Park Service in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, at least 10 Humpbacks have been documented spending one winter off the coast of Sitka, and at least one off the coast of Juneau. We really don’t know how common this behavior is because almost no photographic identification research takes place in SE Alaska over the winter (and really, who can blame the researchers when there are such great opportunities to conduct their studies in sunny Hawaii during this time period?!).

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