Late Season Sightings

Aloha,
I know on April 16th that I said “aloha” to¬†our spectacular 2012/2013 Humpback season, but I just had to share with you that on Sunday’s Dolphin Watch Encounter from Anaeho’omalu Bay, we saw Humpbacks! We hadn’t gone more than 5 minutes outside of Anaeho’omalu Bay before we saw a big splash. We knew right away that it had to have been from a Humpback…but we didn’t see the whale. So of course, we kept going west towards the splash, and slowed down when we thought we were in the vicinity. Who should pop up right in front of us, but Mom, baby and escort!
Baby was fairly big…and Mom and the escort were fairly small for adults. It was obvious to all of us aboard that the escort was actively pursuing Mom and she kept changing directions to avoid him. Baby was out in front…but we did get to see him do a quick dive under Mom (nursing maybe?). We were fortunate enough to watch this pod for about 30 minutes before they changed direction completely and we decided to move on to our snorkel spot.
Just thought you might be interested! April 21st, and we’re still seeing whales!!
Mahalo,
Claire

Spectacular breaches and Vibrant Songs

Aloha,

Our Wednesday Whale Watches were Wonderful! We didn’t run our regular schedule, but guests aboard our 10:00 Whale Watch were treated to sightings of 20 whales, 15 of whom they saw in the first half hour of the charter. They saw 8 “spectacular” breaches about 250 yards from the boat, 2 spy hops, 6 tail lobs, head and body lunges, 4 Cow/Calf/Escort pods, had 5 close encounters, and 3 muggings. When the hydrophone was deployed our naturalist Jonathan reports the singing was loud, clear and vibrant. And on our morning Black Sand Picnic Snorkel Sail, guests report seeing “at least 20 whales” including a couple of calves with their Moms. As one guest put it, “how could there be anything cuter than a baby whale?”. They also saw breaches, lunges and lots of tails and spouting.

Join Ocean Sports for a whale watch you’ll never forget! Call us at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com to reserve your adventure today.

Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Humpbacks can maintain a consistant body temperature even when swimming in cold Alaskan waters. How do they do that? Besides their protective layer of blubber, they actually have something called a “counter current” circulatory system. Some arteries in their flippers, flukes, and dorsal fin are surrounded by veins, allowing some heat from the blood traveling through the arteries to be transferred to the venous blood returning to their hearts, instead of being lost to the environment. Tomorrow, I’ll explain how Humpbacks keep their cool in Hawaiian waters!

Mahalo,

Captain Claire

Humpbacks show Interest

Please disregard the previous email — I’m having a problem with my internet connection. Here’s the complete report!
Aloha,

It sure was a windy day on Tuesday — so windy in fact that the only cruise we were able to run was our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales. Guests who woke up early enough to join us were well rewarded though, since the Humpback sightings began as soon as we exited the Bay! We began our cruise watching 2 big adults who decided they wanted to watch us too, and swam pretty close to our boat. After seeing them, we encountered a Cow/Calf pod, who also seemed pretty interested in us. Throughout the cruise we saw 7 breaches within about 400 yards, and all told we saw 15 different Humpbacks.

 

Even if you can’t wake up early enough to join us on the Breakfast with the Whales, we run Whale Watches at 10:00 and 3:00 — call us at 886-6666 ext 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com for details and reservations.

 

Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Yesterday, I mentioned that researchers taking DNA samples from the whales take dime-size plugs of skin. Researcher Chris Gabriele was quick to point out that the skin and blubber plug is actually the size of a pencil eraser and is obtained by using a dart tip on the end of an arrow propelled by an air-rifle or crossbow. Tissue samples are used to ascertain a wide variety of information including sex, age, hormone levels, dietary composition, stress levels, contaminant levels, and the presence of viral or bacterial diseases among other things. Mahalo for the information Chris! We rely on researchers like her to keep us up-to-date!

Mahalo,
Captain Claire

Oh, those entertaining Humpback Calves!

Aloha,
Monday brought us some very interesting sightings. On our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales cruise, our naturalist Angelica reported there were whales everywhere — as far as the eye could see! We began the Whale Watch with sightings of a Cow/Calf right outside of the Bay. We watched Mom hold her baby on her rostrum (her head) for awhile before we were distracted by a breaching whale a little further out. So we left Mom and Baby and approached the breacher — he (or she) performed 6 more breaches and about 5 tail lobs. In total we saw about 30 different whales on this trip and if we count the breaches in the distance, about 20 breaches! On our 10:00 Whale Watch from Kawaihae, we saw 8 whales and 1 breach. We also spent some time on this trip watching a Cow/Calf pod (it’s so fun and so interesting to watch the interaction between baby and Momma), and when we deployed our hydrophone we heard some nice clear singing.
Join Ocean Sports on a Whale Watch during the height of the Whale Season in Hawaii. Call us at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com to reserve your adventure today.
Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales, and actually all Cetaceans, have a highly developed sense of touch. We know this because they have a lot of nerve endings right beneath their skin, and there’s a lot of blood flow to the nerve endings. Plus they touch each other a lot. Also, when researchers take dime-size plugs of skin from whales to study their DNA (and when you consider the size of the whale, it’s a pretty insignificant amount of skin), they report seeing the whales flinch..
Mahalo,
Captain Claire

A real Cutie, Breaches, Songs and Pec Slaps

Aloha,
Our Friday Whale Watch sightings seemed to mirror the calm seas we experienced. On our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales, we saw 26 different whales — all adults, and almost all of them were swimming slowly, surfacing and taking a few breaths and then showing us their flukes as they began their deeper dives. We did deploy our hydrophone, and it seemed to us that the whales we were listening to were VERY close to the boat. On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 14 whales including 2 Cow/Calf pods. We saw 6 breaches on the horizon and had three close encounters. We also were mugged twice and got to see a very young gray calf as he swam right under our stern, and rolled over onto his back. Like all babies, this guy was a real cutie. The songs we heard on this whale watch were coming in loud and clear too! On Saturday, our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales trip reports seeing 15 whales, with a few breaches — but the most exciting thing that happened on that trip was a whale repeatedly slapping his pectoral fin on the surface of the water about 20 feet from the boat! On Sunday, our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales cruise reports seeing 35 whales including 3 pods of Cow/Calf/Escorts and a big Competitive Pod performing the usual aggressive surface behaviors. Guests aboard this trip really loved seeing the baby whales though. And at 10:00, our Whale Watch from Kawaihae reports seeing 13 whales — mostly just spouting and sounding. But towards the end of the trip, while everyone was looking towards the front of the boat, a Humpback breached about 100 yards from us! Captain Will said the breach “came out of the blue” (which in this case is both a literal and a figurative description). We’ve noticed over the years that it’s a rare occasion when everyone on the boat is looking the right way to see the breach — what a great end to our Weekend Whale Watches!
Don’t miss the whale watch action in February…Ocean Sports offers 3 different trips daily, departing from two different locations within the Hawaii Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Waters. Call us at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com to reserve your “height-of-the-season” adventure today.
Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Traditionally, the Hawaiian people did not hunt whales. It may be because they didn’t like the taste of the meat, or it may be because the spirit of the whale was so powerful…But if a toothed whale did end up on a beach (whether it died at sea and was blown ashore, or actually beached itself), only the ali’i (royalty) were allowed to possess any part of the whale. Carvings made from a whale’s tooth called “Niho Palaoa” brought mana (roughly defined as a ” spiritual force”) to the both the carver and the wearer of the pendant.

Siren’s Song, Protective Mother Whales and a little bit of a Fight

Aloha,
Wednesday’s Whale Watchers got the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of baby whales. At 8:00, on our Breakfast with the Whales cruise, we spent the first 40 minutes with Mom, her baby and an escort. Mom was pretty protective of her calf, keeping him on the other side of her from the escort (which is the same thing we saw yesterday too). At one point, all three of them surfaced about 20 feet from the boat! The escort did a fluke dive and we all got to see the distinct white markings on the ventral side (that’s the underneath part) of his flukes before he did a turn right underneath our bow! We also watched a competitive pod of 2 whales literally shoving each other across the surface of the ocean. We saw 6 breaches, 2 peduncle throws, and heard some very loud singing. On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 14 different whales, including 3 different Cow/Calf pods. We saw 5 breaches and 5 spy hops as well as body and head lunges and some tail lobs. We were “mugged” twice on that trip too, and also heard some very loud songs.
Join Ocean Sports on a Whale Watch and experience the adventure for yourself! Call us at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com to reserve your seat today.
Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: We don’t always need to deploy our hydrophone to hear the whales singing. When singing whales are very close to the boat, their songs reverberate through the hulls. The uneducated sailors long ago thought that these sounds they were hearing through the holds of the ships were actually sung by sirens (or mermaids).
Mahalo,
Captain Claire

Baby Whales, Breaches, Peduncle Throws and…Pilot Whales

Aloha,
Guests aboard Whale Watch Cruises yesterday had some very interesting encounters to report. First of all, guests on both our 10:00 Whale Watch on Alala out of Kawaihae Harbor, and our 3:00 Whales & Cocktails Cruise on Seasmoke out of Anaeho’omalu Bay reported seeing a whale calf! The afternoon trip reports 12 whales in total, but the Cow/Calf pod were spotted right near the bay as the boat was concluding the trip. The calf even breached! Guests on the 10:00 trip saw a total of 7 Humpbacks, 3 breaches, 2 pectoral slaps, and 4 peduncle throws (that’s what we call it when we see the whale throw the “back” half of his or her body out of the water). But even more interesting and exciting than all that, we also got to watch a pod of three Humpbacks (they appeared to be two big adults and a yearling) interacting with a pod of Pilot Whales! Since the water was so clear, we were actually able to watch these two species of whales swim over and under and all around each other! it was a great example of inter-species communication.
Join Ocean Sports for the adventure of your life! We offer 3 different cruises just to watch the whales, plus Snorkel Sails and Sunset Sails! Call us at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit hawaiioceansports.com for details.
Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: A baby whale, called a “calf” looks so small and cute when seen playing with her Mom. But everything is relative…when the calf is born, she can already be 10 to as much as 15 feet long, and she weighs 2000 to 3000 pounds!
Mahalo, and have a great weekend,
Captain Claire