Posted by: onboardtourswhales | January 24, 2012

Friendly Friday

Sunny, warm January 20, 2012, the ‘vog’, big island volcanic smoke haze lifted, with clear skies and calm seas showing Humpback Whales everywhere you looked between 2:35pm and 4:35pm! They’ve arrived! Singles, mothers with calves, and groups were spread out between Maui and Lanai. The captain is well experienced and respectful of the laws and regulations protecting these endangered whales. We headed toward Lanai, stopped and could see whales in the distance in all directions.

So surprise! when a whale pops up right near the side of the boat! (That’s called a “mugging” or being “mugged”. We can’t approach closer than 100 yards; however whales can and do chose to approach boats!) It was a young, not fully grown female (she rolled over and we saw her genital slit with 2 mammary slits), with another larger, male? whale following her. Perhaps she wasn’t interested in mating with him, or enjoying the courting? Then 2 more whales-males? joined in the group swimming around and under the boat. Probably males, as research so far has shown females don’t socialize physically close together like males will, the males even competing and injuring each other. The 4th Humpback Whale had Killer Whale teeth rake marks on its tail flukes and body, a survivor of probably an Alaskan Transient Killer Whales encounter.

Amazing to see the whole, large, whale, and their white undersides glowing in the water! Then breathing, rolling, a little spy hop, blowing bubbles- turning the water turquoise colored, pectoral fin slapping the surface, and graceful dives bringing up their tail flukes. The males have been seen blowing the just under the surface bubbles, perhaps expressing their rank. Interesting that by Humpback Whales, pectoral fin slapping the water is thought to be invitational. As opposed to tail-fluke or peduncle slapping, which seems aggressive and we saw happening between a group further out, who also looked like they were doing headstands-flukes hanging above the surface! Several breaches through out the area and trip, and we humans were treated to a great variety of whale surface behaviors!

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Responses

  1. Great info Caroline
    Love Dad

    • Thanks Dad! 🙂

  2. What an awesome job you have Caroline.

    • Thanks Theresa! Yes I love my work and am hopefully helping people to realize our connections to marine life and how we need to live in balance will all the life in-on our ocean planet!


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