Wow!! What a day!! I went out on a whale watching boat today with my Mom, and boy did we see a lot of whales! The weather was beautiful and the sea was calm. We had only been out of the harbor for about 10 minutes and we came up on a competition pod of humpback whales.
Below is a whale expelling the water vapor from their lungs. When they do this, the vaper comes out at 300 miles per hour and each of their lungs is the size of a volkswagon bug.
A competition pod contains mainly male whales and one female that may or may not have a calf. When there is a competition pod, the males are very active. Each one will put on an incredible show of acrobatics in hopes of impressing the female.
This whale breeched right next to our boat. They seem to enjoy breeching on the surface. It almost seems as though they play like humans do. Perhaps they are just irritated with the barnicals attached to their skin, and they are trying to rub them off with the splash of the water.
What increadible creatures. The captian lowered a microphone down into the ocean and we could hear the whale songs that they were "singing". I find it interesting that the sounds that they create are produced in their enormous sinus cavities. They use their muscle to voluntarily move the air through their sinuses. Only the males make these sounds. Scientists have never recorded a female making any noises at all.
This splash was the size of a compact car! We had several whales come right up to the boats. They were several pectoral fin slaps from several of the whales that we encountered. Below is one of the pectoral fins of a large male humpback whale.
At one point, there was a boat across from us and one of the calves came up along side it and did what the whale foundation calls a spy hop. That is when a whale comes out of the water just far enough to pop its head out above water to take a look at what is around it on the ocean's surface.
Right before we came back into the port, we had the privilege of seeing a VERY rare treat!! Right in front of the boat's bow, three large males all breeched in unison right next to each other. The captain and crew had never seen that happen before. I was getting ready to put my gear away so I only caught one out of the water and the HUGE splash that all three of them made.
In the photos below, I was lucky enough to catch the males popping up out of the water about half of their body length.
Once you see the tail of a whale, they are on their way back down for at least fifteen minutes. The average time that whales can stay under the water is 40 minutes. The longest dive by a whale recorded by scientists is 75 minutes.
The whales are in Maui to mate, deliver their calves, and raise their young. When their young are old enough, they leave Maui's tropical waters and travel on to Alaska where the water is rich in phytoplankton. It is amazing how these large creatures are so mesmerizing. I can't wait to get back out there this week!