Guests aboard our Friday Breakfast with the Whales Cruise saw lots of whales, lots of spouts, and lots of tail lobs. The highlight of the trip was encountering a competitive pod that included Mom and her calf. We watched as Mom did her best to shield her calf from the fray…Mom is able to get pregnant right after she gives birth, but she rarely does. We’re not sure if it’s because she successfully avoids mating or if it’s because due to hormone levels affected by lactation, it’s actually more difficult for her to get pregnant while she’s nursing. On the 10:00 Whale Watch, we counted 22 different whales including a competitive pod of 5, one pod of cow-calf, and one pod of cow-calf-escort. We think it was the escort that gave us the highlight of this trip when he breached just 30 yards from the port side of the boat! We also saw 3 other breaches and 3 head lunges, and heard some great singing through our hydrophone. And we finished off our Friday by watching a competitive pod of 7 whales on our Whales and Cocktails Cruise. As usual, they provided lots of action on the surface…during the course of this cruise, we saw a total of 10 whales within a half mile of the bay.
On Saturday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we found a mom and her sleepy baby just outside of the bay. We watched them for awhile before finding a competitive pod of 3 whales. At one point, one of the whales swam under the boat, turned around and then surfaced right next to the boat, covering us with his spout. On the 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw 18 whales including one competitive pod of 6 whales, one mom-baby pod, and one mom-baby-escort pod. Highlights included one huge peduncle throw, and several head lunges, tail lobs and pec slaps. We also encountered a pod of spinner dolphins.
Sunday’s Whale Watches brought us more fun.Guests aboard our Breakfast with the Whales Cruise saw 5 different competitive pods…and 4 pods of Mom and Bay (one with an escort). We saw lots of breaching in the distance, a few pec slaps and some tail lobs too. On the 10:00 Whale Watch we saw 22 whales including a competitive pod of 6 (that performed 5 head lunges) and 3 different Mom/Baby pods (only one with an escort). And the day ended with sightings of 20 different whales on the Whales and Cocktails Cruise. Among other things, we saw breaches, and watched two BIG adult whales alternate tail lobs for about 10 minutes!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: Just how difficult is it for a 40 ton, 45 foot long animal to “fly” from the sea in a total breach? Observers have reported seeing Humpbacks breach after only two kick strokes for propulsion. Based on the formula for calculating horsepower, measurements of laminar flow around cetacean skin (how water flows past the skin of the animal), girth, and drag in the water, the breaching whale is producing between 1500 and 1700 horsepower in order to “catch air”. We used to think it was closer to 5000 horsepower, but with the aid of a calculator and more accurate measurements, we’ve been able to recalculate more accurately…still, try this yourself next time you’re in the water. We’re betting you won’t get very far!