Guests aboard Tuesday’s 10:00 Whale Watch got to see a wide variety of Humpback behaviors. The cruise stared with a visit by a Mom/Baby/Escort pod who stayed about 200 yards away from us. We enjoyed watching them, but our attention was diverted by some other whales who decided it was time to start a breaching contest. There were 5 of these whales…and they also did some full-on pec slaps and head lunges. After this pod disassociated, we saw some small splashes up near Kohala Estates, so we headed that way and found a big pod of dolphins surrounding a pod of two Humpbacks. Often it looks to us that the Humpbacks want nothing to do with the dolphins, but these two pods stuck together for at least 30 minutes (we had to leave before they separated). And just as we turned the boat to head back to the harbor, one of the Humpbacks breached. Captain Will, who never is speechless, found it difficult to describe his excitement! On our Whales and Cocktails Cruise, we didn’t have to travel far. We saw lots of pods of Mom/Baby/Escort between the Hilton and the Marriott. One of these pods came to check us out too. We also saw a big breach a bit further away. In total we saw 20 different whales during this cruise, and we only traveled about a mile!
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: All mammals have hair. Humpback Whales are mammals… so where is their hair? Humpbacks have rows of bumps on their chins that we call “tubercles”. Out of each one, sticks a hair that’s about 1/2 inch long that we call a “vibrissa”. Because there’s a nerve ending underneath each hair, and blood flow to the nerve, we know the whales use these hairs to sense something…but we’re not sure what they’re sensing. Quite likely, they use their hairs like cats use their whiskers- for proprioception.