Whales Everywhere on Tuesday Afternoon

Aloha,
The rainy weather caused us to cancel our early morning Whale Watches on Tuesday, but as soon as we could go out again, what we saw more than made up for the first part of the day. In fact, on our Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we saw so many different spouts as we were leaving the bay that we weren’t sure which direction to head (one of our favorite dilemmas)! Captain Shane decided to take us south and we were rewarded quickly with a very curious calf and his permissive Mom. Much to our delight, she let him investigate the boat at close range. We then saw a competitive pod of 6 whales charging across the surface. There was lots of trumpeting from these hard-breathing whales. After that, we saw another pod of Mom/Baby, and this time an escort surfaced with them. For a grand finale, Mom breached twice, and the baby got into the excitement too, breaching multiple times.Our onboard naturalist Angelica estimates that throughout the duration of the cruise we saw 35 different whales!
Mahalo,
Claire
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Researchers have observed that Humpback calves are very playful, investigating all kinds of objects in their environment (including our boat), interacting with their moms, and even interacting with passing pods of dolphins. But for as many calves as we see in Hawaii during the winter, we never have observed the calves playing with each other. Though we’re not sure why this is, perhaps Mom won’t allow a calf that isn’t hers to approach because she doesn’t want to feed the wrong one.

Mom and Baby Check us Out

Aloha,
We ran lots of Whale Watches this weekend, so here are some of the highlights. On Friday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we were approached by three different Mom/Baby/Escort pods at different times. We also saw something that our on-board naturalist Mike had a difficult time describing. He said that just behind the boat, guests watched a whale do what looked like a “reverse spy-hop”. The whale came vertically up out of the water tail first, till almost half his body was above the surface and held that position for a three count. Mike offered to draw a diagram…but we think you get the idea without the picture!
On Saturday’s 10:00 Whale Watch, we got to see 3 breaches about 500 yards away from us and one just 100 yards away from us! Captain Will estimates we saw 25 different Humpbacks on this cruise, and lots of Mom/Baby/Escort pods.
On Sunday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we saw more than 25 different Humpbacks. Most of them seemed to be kind of tired – just surfacing to breath, but we did see a competitive pod in front of Mauna Lani who exchanged 10 breaches. Underwater, it must have been a different story, because when we deployed the hydrophone we heard a LOT of singing and vocalizing from quite a few whales. On the 10:00 Whale Watch, a Mom/Baby/Escort pod spent a lot of time with us. Baby was really small (and probably very young). We also saw an adult pec slap and tail lob very close by. And to top it all off, on our Sunday Whales and Cocktails, we spent considerable time with another Mom/Baby/Escort pod, but we also saw lots of peduncle throws and pec slaps from a pod of two adults nearby.
Mahalo,
Claire
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Being mammals, Humpbacks have belly buttons – in case you’re wondering, they’re “innies”.

A Beautiful Voice

Aloha,
It’s definitely winter on the Kohala Coast with gusty winds and swells…but we think the whales are enjoying the conditions because our Whale Watch Cruises have been reporting some great sightings.HIghlights from Monday include the Breakfast with the Whales, during which guests saw lots of whales including two different calves. We also saw 4 breaches, and when we deployed our hydrophone, we heard what our on board naturalist Mike called “the most beautiful voices ever heard on the planet earth” (and Mike is also a very talented musician, so he knows a beautiful voice when he hears it)! On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw a total of 20 different whales. We watched a competitive pod of 4 whales for quite a while, and saw 4 head lunges, two pec slaps and a peduncle throw from them. This pod swam directly underneath the boat…first we saw them on the surface at the bow, and then they disappeared briefly, only to surface again at our 7:00 position. We saw two cow/calf pairs without escorts and when we deployed our hydrophone, we heard some great singing on this cruise too.
Mahalo,
Claire
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day:   All whales, regardless of species, age, or gender make noises. Only Humpback Whales sing an organized song…and only male Humpbacks sing. We used to believe that the males only “sing” when they are in the warmer waters where they mate, though now that we’re listening more closely, we have heard the males singing a bit in their colder feeding waters (mostly at the end of feeding season prior to the beginning of the migration). So, is the male Humpback singing a mating song? Researchers have observed that female whales will not approach a singing male, so if this is a mating song, it seems to be a pretty ineffective one. I’ll share more theories about the purpose of the Humpback Song in future emails.