The whales were everywhere this weekend, and we ran a lot of different cruises, so I’ll just recap highlights from a few of them. On Friday’s10:00 Whale Watch, Captain Baker reports seeing a couple of pods of 3 whales harassing each other for the duration of the cruise which provided lots of surface action to watch. Guests also saw one whale do a complete breach just 120 yards from the boat. This guy was totally out of the water, and everyone got to see it (which is kind of unusual; it’s much more common that most of us are looking a different direction until we hear the shouts from the lucky people who see the whale’s rostrum exit the water)! And on the Whales and Cocktails Cruise we saw lots of spouting and lots of fluking. We also got to see 2 lazy breaches from a whale about 200 yards away from us. He only got half his body out of the water, but he did land on his back both times.
On Saturday’s 10:00 cruise from Kawaihae, we started out with a single whale who breached 4 times in a row, and then did 7 peduncle throws — which certainly got our attention. But after that expenditure of energy, he just swam down the coast spouting and diving. Then we found a pod of Mom/Baby/Escort offshore of the Mauna Kea Resort. We watched the interaction between the 3 of them for the rest of our cruise.
On Sunday’s Wake up With the Whales, we hardly got a break from the action the whole trip. Not only did we see every surface activity in the book, but we had a whale breach not more than 100 feet from us, and at one point two whales surfaced just in front of our idling boat while one whale was tail lobbing right at our stern. On the 10:00 Cruise from Kawaihae, the whales were eerily quiet — until the last 30 minutes when a sub-adult started doing peduncle throw after peduncle throw. Some of us counted 15 — some of us counted 17. By our 3:00 departure for the Whale & Cocktails Cruise, it had gotten kind of windy,and the Humpbacks were reflecting that energy. We watched at least 6 pods of two whales, plus a few competitive pods — and according to Captain Mark, saw lots of tail lobs, peduncle throws, head lunges and breaches from these pods.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: A Humpback Whale doesn’t reach sexual maturity till it’s about 35 feet long (age 5 or 6 for females, and a little bit later for males). Researchers have observed that most Humpbacks in the North Pacific don’t begin calving successfully till they’re at least 10 years old – the mean average is 11.8 years. In the North Atlantic, Humpbacks generally give birth for the first time between ages 5 and 7.