When getting Mugged is a Good Thing


We took out two boats for our Wake up with the Whales Cruise on Thursday. Guests aboard Seasmoke found ourselves the object of attention for our favorite pod — Mom and Baby. These two whales stayed with us for over an hour, diving and surfacing right next to the boat, We wore ourselves out running from bow to stern, port to starboard, watching the whales as they watched us. We loved seeing them right below the surface of the water  – their white pec fins glowing with that incredible turquoise color as they reflected through the water, and we loved looking into their eyes when they surfaced. Watching baby sit on Mom’s rostrum was a real treat too! When we were able to take our eyes away from them, we also saw tail lobs and breaches all around us from other whales.
And though Manu Iwa departed from the same location at the same time, guests aboard that boat had a slightly different experience – an experience that can be summed up in just one word, “Breach”! A pod of Mom and baby found the boat quickly and baby breached so many times that we all lost count. Then we saw a sub-adult breach right next to us…then we saw a fully grown adult Humpback breach right next to us!
On the 10:00 Signature Whale Watch Cruise from Kawaihae we were astounded by the absence of activity. Though we did see a Humpback surface several times, and some of us saw a breach, it really wasn’t the experience we want to give our guests so Captain Kino called it a “Fluke” and we invited our guests to join us again on another cruise for free. So…did the Humpbacks move away from the area because of the tiger shark that had been seen at Hapuna Beach? Did the low flying helicopters that were out looking for the shark alter the behavior of the Humpbacks? We don’t know for sure, but it’s only the third week of March, so we know there are still lots of Humpbacks visiting the area.
Have a great weekend – I’ll send out my next report on Monday,
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Researchers taking DNA samples from the whales take pencil eraser sized plugs of skin and blubber 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.