We had a busy day on the water on Wednesday, and so did the whales. All day long we watched pods of Mom/Baby/Escort, and competitive pods. In fact, seeing a Humpback by him or her self was a rare sighting. Over the course of the day, we saw 12 breaches, 27 (we counted) tail lobs, 16 pec slaps, multiple peduncle throws and lots of “unidentifiable splashes”. We were mugged a few times by curious Mom/Baby pods, who always seemed to be accompanied by escorts. We did get to hear some trumpeting from “out-of-breath” participants in competitive pods. When we dropped our hydrophones, we still were hearing very loud and clear songs. This has been a very interesting season so far. The last count of the Humpbacks sponsored by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary takes place this coming Saturday, March 30th…but anecdotally, it appears to us that there has been a higher population density of Humpbacks off the Kohala Coast this year than in previous years. After the count results are released, we’ll let you know if our unscientific observations are correct.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day: In August 2008, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) changed the status of the Humpback Whale from “Vulnerable” to “Least Concern” reflecting the general upward trend of population levels. According to IUCN standards, animal populations in the “Least Concern” category are at a low risk for extinction. The IUCN classifies the status of Humans in the same category.