New Born Humpback Calf

Aloha, Our weekend of Whale Watching started out with a bang! On Friday’s 10:00 Cruise, guests got to watch not 1…not 2… but 3 competitive pods of 5 whales each all at the same time! There was way more head lunging, peduncle throwing, pec slapping and breaching going on than we could keep track of…and we pretty much all lost our voices shouting out encouragement to all these whales in their battles for dominance. On the 12:30 Cruise, the waters quieted down. We watched several whales all in one small area just spouting…and then…all of a sudden, we saw the smallest calf we had ever seen. This little guy’s dorsal fin was completely bent over (indicating a VERY recent birth). Mom had the little whale resting on her rostrum and was gently pushing him around on the surface heading towards shore. As Captain Will put it, “Absolutely Incredible”! On the Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we were watching a couple of adult whales but were all surprised when a calf popped up right off the bow of the boat. We could see mom under the water, but she never did surface near us. On Saturday’s Breakfast with the Whales Cruise, we saw 15 different whales including 3 Mom/Baby pods. One of the little calves was very energetic, breaching 3 times, pec slapping and tail lobbing. When we deployed the hydrophone, we did hear multiple voices, but none of the singers were very close. And on the 10:00 Cruise we watched Mom and Baby breaching (was she teaching him how or were they both communicating something important?). We also got to watch a small competitive pod doing pec slaps and tail lobs. By Sunday, the weather moved in so we only got to run the morning cruises – but at 10:00 am we were the object of curiosity for Mom and her Baby Humpback. They surfaced and dove next to us for 45 minutes…we even got spouted upon. We also saw some breaches in the distance, but we did get lucky when a different whale breached just a couple hundred yards from us. Mahalo, Claire

Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: According to research conducted in Japan, the peak estrus period for Humpbacks (i.e. when females are in heat) overall, is between the end of January and the end of February, but the peak estrus period for females with a calf appears to be several weeks later. Our frequent observations of pods of Mom and Baby who are accompanied by an escort at this time of year seem to support the validity of these findings. Although, since many mature females without calves have left Hawaii already, perhaps it’s not the fact that the females with calves are in estrus that’s attracting the escorts, but just that these males are accompanying any female they can find.

A Surprise Close Encounter

Wednesday’s Whale Watches started out with a bang! Guests aboard Seasmoke’s Breakfast with the Whales cruise were delighted to find a whale just a couple miles off shore of Anaeho’omalu Bay. We hung out with this whale for quite awhile, as s/he was surfacing pretty frequently. At one point, we were just idling quietly, watching and waiting for the whale to surface again. Everyone on the boat was scanning in different directions, and many of us had our theories about which direction the whale was next likely to pop up when we all got a HUGE surprise as the whale surfaced just 25 feet from the boat! Apparently this whale was as interested at getting a close look at us as we were at getting a look at him. On our 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 8 different Humpbacks…including a competitive pod of 3. At one point, the lead whale of the pod (which is invariably a female) surfaced at the 9:00 position, and then swam under the boat and came up again at the 1:00 position so everyone on board, regardless of which side of the boat they were standing on, got a close encounter! We also saw Spinner Dolphins on this trip…most of them appeared to be resting, but we did see one end-on-end spin!
Join us and celebrate the end of 2012 with Hawaii’s Best Whale Watch Tours. Call us at (808)886-6666 ext. 103 or visit to reserve your adventure today.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day:Though the Humpbacks we typically see in Hawaii average between 40 and perhaps 50 feet long, there is anecdotal evidence that the largest Humpback killed by whalers was 88 feet long. This Humpback was taken in the Caribbean.