Did we see Humpbacks Mating?

Thursday brought us some interesting whale sightings. On our Breakfast with the Whales Cruise we saw more than 20 different whales, but spent most of our time paralleling a competitive pod of 7 whales that included a Cow/Calf pair. These whales used our boat a lot (which was really exciting) diving back and forth underneath us. We also saw several breaches and tail lobs from some whales a bit further away. As if all that weren’t enough, we were accompanied by a pod of Spinner Dolphins on the way back to the bay.
On our 10:00 Whale Watch we watched lots of pods of two. Most of them were just cruising at the surface heading every which way…so Captain Baker decided to head to the south. We had several close encounters with whales spouting and surfacing right behind the boat and right along side, and we got to see multiple breaches and tail lobs from different whales within about 500 yards.. After cruising along for awhile, we decided to stop the boat and drop the hydrophone. We were delighted to hear several singers (we knew a few of them pretty close by since the sounds were so loud). While we were listening, two Humpbacks started interacting with each other just about 100 yards away. One of them spy hopped several times, but what was so interesting was the way in which these two whales were interacting. The spy hopper rolled on his/her dorsal side (back) just under the surface of the water, and we could see just the tips of her curled pectoral fins. Meanwhile, the other whale appeared to be floating just on top of the first whale, They did this several times, alternating with gentle pectoral slaps and sideways fluke dives (we could see just one half of the fluke). We really wished we could have seen what was going on below the surface!
Finally, on our Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we spent a lot of time watching a calf breaching over and over and over again. This little guy had energy to burn as he breached more than 20 times and threw in a few tail lobs for good measure.
Mahalo and have a great weekend,
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Though Humpbacks come to Hawaii primarily to have babies and make babies, and though researchers have watched them closely here since the early 1970’s, interestingly enough there are no documented observations of Humpbacks mating or calving! Those of us lucky enough to have been on today’s 10:00 Whale Watch left the boat wondering if what we were witnessing was Humpbacks mating!