When a Mugging is a Good Thing


We had a great weekend of whale watching. With so many cruises, there’s no way I can recap everything, but here are a few highlights. On Friday’s Wake up With the Whales Cruise on Seasmoke, we got to watch a pod of three whales twisting and turning around each other on the surface. For awhile, two of them were obviously belly to belly and then one was on top of the other — were they mating? On the Whales and Cocktails Cruise on Manu Iwa, we saw two different Mom/Baby/Escort pods. One of the escorts breached three times when he was just 30 feet from our idling boat. We also got mugged by the second pod for more than 30 minutes. All day long, we were seeing whale spouts in every direction.
On Saturday’s 8:00 am Cruise from Anaeho’omalu Bay, Captain Jake had a choice to make when we left the bay. We saw spouts in pretty much every direction, but we went south, and it paid off. We spent most of our time with a competitive pod of 4 whales who were charging around on the surface. We got to see the differences between the shapes of their flukes…and also got to see a bit of a fight. The whales didn’t seem to care that we were idling in the area as they milled about, changing directions, and even surfacing about 30 feet from us and charging towards us before diving. We also saw a whale from a different pod tail-lob 13 times before tiring out, and lots of lunges and peduncle throws from whales further in the distance. On the 12:30 Cruise, lucky guests got to see a whale breach 15 times right in front of the boat, and on the Whales and Cocktails, we were mugged for a good ten minutes by two curious whales who kept surfacing  just 10 feet away from our idling boat.
On each of Sunday’s cruises we saw spouts from more than 2 dozen Humpbacks. On Manu Iwa’s 8:00 Wake up with the Whales Cruise, we all enjoyed the antics of several different calves, but we were totally blown away when one baby approached the boat at the end of the charter. Not only did mom let him come within about 50 feet of us, but she surfaced too…and then one of our guests on the starboard bow noticed a shadow in the water. It turned out to be the escort who cruised under us just 10 feet below the surface. We all got a great look at him as he passed below the hulls. On our special 11:00 Educational Cruise, the Girl Scouts from Ke’eau, and some high school kids from HPA got to see lots of breaching, peduncle throwing and tail lobbing from some very energetic adult whales. We also got to see a couple of yearlings close up when they cruised by our idling boat.
Hope your weekend was as nice as ours!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: According to research conducted by the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, a Humpback’s heart beats an average of 40 bpm, but the whales do experience periods of tachycardia and bradycardia (faster than normal and slower than normal heart rates) during dives.