Lots of Muggings, Dolphins, and Barnacles

There’s a lot to report from our weekend’s worth of whale watching. Beginning with Friday, both our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales and 3:00 Whales & Cocktails cruises report seeing 6 whales with a few breaches — we think the whales had moved up towards Kawaihae that day, since our 10:00 Whale Watch reports seeing 17 whales, 3 breaches, 4 cow/calf pods (1 accompanied by an escort), 3 breaches and a HUGE pod of Spinner Dolphins. Jonathan, our naturalist estimates there were more than 200 animals in that pod. On Saturday, the whales seemed to be moving back down the coastline again. The 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales cruise, and the 3:00 Whales & Cocktails cruise both report seeing close to 25 different whales. The highlight of the first trip was watching a very small calf attempting to check out our boat, and the highlight of the last trip of the day was watching a very active competitive pod on the surface right near the boat for more than 30 minutes. On our 10:00 Whale Watch, our naturalist Nick reports that guests saw 20 different whales, mostly in pods of 2’s or 3’s. We also had a close encounter with a very small baby whale…but the most interesting part of the trip had to be when we encountered a pod of about 15 Rough Tooth Dolphins interacting with a couple of adult whales. Nick reports that the whales appeared to be irritated by the dolphins, because it looked like the whales were trying to slap their smaller cousins away! On Sunday, patience paid off for guests on our 8:00 Breakfast with the Whales, as towards the end of the trip, we encountered a very active pod of two whales who slapped the water with their pectoral fins, made several peduncle throws, and lots of tail lobs all about 100 yards from the boat! And on our 3:00 Whales & Cocktails, we saw 18 whales, and were mugged by a curious baby (who was accompanied by his fairly permissive Mom and an escort). We saw breaches (7), peduncle throws (4), pectoral slaps (4), tail lobs (2) and 8 peduncle throws.
Don’t miss out on all the Humpback Action. Call Ocean Sports at 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit www.hawaiioceansports to reserve your adventure today.
Humpback Whale Fact of the Day:  Humpback Whales play host to all kinds of other animals. Besides the barnacles we often see on the Humpbacks’ flukes and other skin surfaces, the whales can also carry tape worms, lung worms, sinus flukes, and whale lice (which are related to skeleton shrimp) among others. Not all of these parasites actually harm the whale (which means that technically, they can’t really all be considered “parasites”). In fact, the barnacles might actually benefit the male Humpbacks who appear to use the sharp edges of the shells (perhaps inadvertently) as weapons during competitive battles.
Captain Claire