We took two boats out for our Tuesday’s Wake up with the Whales Cruise. On Seasmoke, we saw lots of humpbacks surfacing and fluke diving, but spent most of our time with a Mom/Baby/Escort pod. Baby surfaced much more frequently than the adults, and at one point, much to our delight, circled our idling boat. On Manu Iwa, we found at least 10 different pods of whales. Most of them were adults, but we did get to see two different Mom/baby pods (both accompanied by escorts). One of these little calves was pretty curious about us and we watched as he kept surfacing closer and closer till Mom finally had enough of it and pushed him away from us. For a grand finale at the end of our charter, a fully grown adult humpback breached just 50 yards from us. We knew he was there, but we sure didn’t know he was going to breach…and that’s why whale watching is so addictive. You just never know what you’re going to see, and even while you’re seeing it, it’s often difficult to believe your eyes.
Captain Claire’s Humpback 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.
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.