The rain on Tuesday held off just long enough that we could run a Breakfast with the Whales Cruise, and it was a lot of fun. As we headed out of the bay, Captain Baker decided to go with gut instincts and took a turn to the left. It paid off because we found a pair of pretty curious whales who wanted to spend some time with us. We got lots of good views of them (including some wonderful fluke shots when they decided to do a deep dive). Once they were underwater, we decided it might be interesting to drop our hydrophone, so we did. We picked up some great vocalizations – very clear, and very loud (but not loud enough to be from the whales we had just watched dive). Time was running short, so we headed back to the bay, and just before we got there, we ran into the Humpbacks’ smaller Cetacean cousins – a pod of about 100 Spinner Dolphins. Some of the dolphins came over to us to ride our bow wake, while others lived up the their common name by jumping and spinning all around us! It was a great finale for a fun Whale Watch.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day:We used to think that the whales that arrived on the coast of the Big Island spent their Hawaii-time here with us. Research and close observation of individuals has proved us wrong. While the Humpbacks seem to prefer to spend most of their time on the lee sides of islands and in water less than 600 feet deep, they will travel between the islands (not in any particular direction that we’re aware of)….females who have calves travel less frequently though.
What a GREAT first week of whale watching we’ve had!
Guests aboard each of our whale watches this weekend were fortunate to not only see Humpbacks, but to see very young calves! On Friday’s Breakfast with the Whales, we saw a cow-calf pair, and we were delighted when we got to watch the baby do a little breach. We also got to see the smaller cetacean cousins – and not just the Spinner Dolphins we often see, but Bottlenose Dolphins too! On Friday’s Whales & Cocktails, we found a Mom and her baby about 2 miles south of Anaeho’omalu Bay. Mom was HUGE, and her calf was really small. Since we know that bigger females generally produce a bigger calf, we surmised this was a very young newborn. We stayed with them for awhile, and just as we turned the boat to head back to the bay, both Mom and baby breached simultaneously (our first double breach of the season). Mom then breached twice more as we bid her an Aloha for the evening.
Saturday and Sunday brought us more of the same…on each of our cruises, a Mom/Baby pair found our boat. On Saturday’s 10:00 Whale Watch we also got to see a super pod of more than 250 Spinner Dolphins. and on Sunday’s 10:00 Whale Watch we spent most of our time with a Mom and her baby but also saw a breach from a big whale in the distance (we know it was a big whale because it was a HUGE splash), and two other sub-adult whales near our Mom/Baby pod. On Sunday’s Whales and Cocktails, another Mom/Baby pair found our boat. We weren’t sure if baby was excited by the find, or just burning off some excess energy, but we got to see more than 35 lunges/breaches from this little guy!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Whale Fact of the Day:The order of whales is called “Cetacean”. The order is divided into two sub-orders, based on what’s in the whales’ mouths. Whales with baleen are in the sub-order “Mysticete”, and whales with teeth are in the sub-order “Odonotocete”. Researchers do not agree on the number of species in each sub-order, but the Society for Marine Mammalogy lists 14 species of Baleen Whales (including our Humpbacks), and 72 species of Toothed Whales (including both Spinner Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins).