Captain Dan's Blog

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

January 23rd, 2017

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

As the new year begins, sightings of migrating Humpback whales continue to increase, as the magnificent Megaptera novaeangliae makes its 3,000 mile trip south from the frigid waters of its north Pacific feeding grounds. As the warmer and clearer waters of Hawaii beckon this threatened species to its breeding grounds along the coastal shorelines of the Hawaiian islands, single adults, female and calf pairs, and groups have already been seen from the deck of the Lady Ann just this month. Although the whales have trended more offshore than nearshore, that will likely change as the peak of the migration kicks in during the months of February and March.
Exciting looks have included mother and calf pairs with their “escort” whales, as the trio is usually seen swimming closer into shore. Both male and female whales have also been seen joining larger groups as they chase each other in what is referred to as “surface active groups”. These are often great opportunities to see favorite Humpback whale behavior, including full-body breaches, flipper slapping, and tail lobbing. Another highlight is having the ability to listen to “singing” male humpbacks from the comfort of your seat on board. Dropping our underwater microphone (hydrophone) has brought their mysterious songs booming over the Lady Ann’s speakers, much to the auditory amazement of the passengers. Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins have been frequently encountered in the same area as the Humpbacks, and sometimes seen frolicking among them, and riding the pressure wave that the whales push ahead of themselves as they swim around.
One of the many reasons that makes Hawaii a unique place for watching and studying whales, is the diversity of whale species that can be seen. Just this season we have already encountered other cetacean species, all within camera range, as large clusters of Hawaiian Pilot whales, False Killer whales, and Spotted dolphins have been seen in the calm offshore waters off the Kona/Kohala coastlines. If we are lucky, we might catch an occasional glimpse of giant Sperm whales (Moby Dick fame) with their huge head and forward facing spouts.
Our trips have also been greeted by some of the seldom seen Whale sharks. Although it is difficult to predict where one might sight them, they have large dorsal fins, white-spotted bodies, and will often turn and approach boats at close range. This season we have been close enough to see their adornments of ramoras or “sucker fish” hanging on around the giant shark’s head and mouth. Whale sharks, the largest fish on earth, are harmless. They get their name because they’re a filter-feeding shark and can be the size of large whales (35’ to 40’). Winter also brings large schools of mating Hammerhead sharks to near shore Hawaiian waters and our guests have spotted their distinct dorsal fins breaking through surface waters as we search for our Humpback whales.

It’s best to plan ahead in this busy season, so book soon! To book your adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808-322-0028 or toll free at 888-942-5376 or simply click the Make a Reservation tab on the left of the screen on our website www.ilovewhales.com. If you want the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, nice lighting for getting great pictures and the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion. Captain Dan offers both a 7AM and 11AM departure. Both trips are 3 hours in length. We look forward to serving you and providing you with the whale watching benefits of Captain Dan’s 45 years of knowledge and experience around these wild creatures!

November 28th, 2016

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

After a summer and fall observing stunning and intelligent Orca whales, and feeding Humpbacks in Washington State and Southeast Alaska, Captain Dan McSweeney has come home to Hawaii to continue his work with the mighty Humpback whales. For several weeks now, the number of Humpbacks returning to Hawaii has steadily increased. Although January, February and March are their biggest migration months, there have already been sightings of cows arriving to give birth and rear their young, as recently born calves discover a warm oceanic playground. The mothers and calves can often be seen playing atop the water, with fins slapping the ocean and tails rising out of the water. These mothers are as much as 40 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds when they arrive. At birth,their calves are a mere 11-16 feet long and weigh about 2,000 pounds, but will gain weight rapidly, and within a year be difficult to distinguish from other juvenile whales. In addition, pods of 6 or more humpback whales and lone males have been spotted as they sing the mysterious humpback song while searching for a mate.
Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch will begin their Humpback season mid-December as the Humpbacks continue increase in number and visibility. In addition, the giant Sperm Whale, easy to identify and amazing to observe, has made its presence known in the deeper waters beyond the Humpback nursery and swimming areas. Pilot Whales, smaller than the Humpback and Sperm Whale, but unique in that they travel in groups that can number as many as 30, are also playing in the waters around the island. As always, the whales are sometimes joined by spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins that love to play in the wake of the Whale Watch boat.
Captain McSweeney’s Whale Watch guarantees whale sightings. However, if you happen to be on the rare trip where a whale is not sighted, you will be given a second excursion at our expense on our next available trip, and treated with the same warm hospitality, as is the norm on all our trips. Each trip includes cool refreshments and snacks, as well as educational information given first by Captain Dan himself and supplemented by his engaging and well-educated crew.
We find that a commonly asked question when it comes to whale watching is, “Which is better to see the whales – the 2.0 hour whale watch trips or the longer 3 hour trips like Captain McSweeney’s Whale Watch provides?” That is a very good question. In answer, we understand that whales are wild creatures that move around a big ocean environment. As with watching any wild creature, the longer you have to watch the more likely you are to see. If you are limited by time and want only a “glimpse” of some whales spouting in the distance, then the shorter whale watches might be for you. However, if you want a chance to “watch” whale behaviors develop from simple swimming and spouting to fin slapping and breaching; or if you would like breathtaking photo opportunities; the kind of trip Captain McSweeney’s Whale Watch provides is the one you would enjoy.
Captain Dan begins running regular morning tours on Thursday, December 15th this year. Each trip yields unexpected surprises as we never know exactly what we will see. To top it off, when you book with Captain Dan, you receive a stunning complimentary 8×10 color photo of a whale that he personally took on one of his whale trips!
Its best to plan ahead in this busy season, so book soon! To book your adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808-322-0028 or toll free at 888-942-5376, or simply click the Make a Reservation tab to the left of the screen on our website at www.ilovewhales.com. If you want the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, nice lighting for getting great pictures, and the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion. Dan offers both a 7am and 11 am departure. Both trips are 3 hours in length. We look forward to serving you and providing you with the whale watching benefits of Captain Dan’s 45 years of knowledge and experience around these wild creatures!

March 6th, 2016

Monday, March 7th, 2016

The humpback whale season continues in a strong direction with wonderful and fulfilling whale encounters (visit TripAdvisor.com, Yelp.com, or Google.com for customer reviews). As the migration hits full swing in the warm water breeding grounds of Hawaii, mothers with newborn calves and singing male whales are just a few of the treasures that have been our guests’ experience. Single whales, whale pairs resting underwater, active chase groups, breeching, and other splash behaviors have entertained our guests all season long. In addition, we have had great encounters with sperm whales, beaked whales, and pilot whales in recent days, plus delightful encounters with playful bottlenose and spinner dolphins, which provide a sense of the possible marine wildlife that one can view aboard one of Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures.
One of the many comments we hear from our guests is their appreciation for the educational and insightful information that Captain Dan shares with his guests, based on his 45 years of experience studying and being around these whales in Hawaii and Alaska. For those that want to learn as they watch and photograph these magnificent creatures, you will likely not find a more entertaining and worthwhile “learning adventure”.
Marine wildlife viewing (as well as land-based viewing) is an experience in the “wildness of nature” and seldom are two experiences ever the same. During wildlife excursions, some folks come looking for quantities of whales, birds, elephants, etc. Others want the “quality” of an encounter. In the wild, the numbers of whales fluctuate by the hour, as these mobile animals move around the ocean. You just never know what you’re going to come across out there at any given moment. While dashing around the water trying to see “lots of whales” is satisfying on some level, one can likely “watch” more by taking the time to stay with and view a few of these magnificent animals in the wild, and watch their behaviors develop. As they get comfortable with your unobtrusive presence, that is often when their “curiosity” seems to take over, and they may come over to view you by swimming under or in close proximity to the boat.
On Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures you will be treated with warm hospitality, including complimentary and tasty refreshments and snacks, as well as educational information given first by Captain Dan himself and supplemented by his well-educated, experienced and friendly crew.
It’s always best to plan ahead in this busy whale watching season, so book soon! To book our adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808 322-0028 (888-942-5376 toll free) or simply click on the Make A Reservation tab to the left of the screen on our website at www.ilovewhales.com. We offer both 7 AM and 11 AM departure times, both 3 hours in length. If you want the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, less traffic, soft lighting for getting great pics, and the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion.
We look forward to serving you and providing you with an extraordinary whale watching experience arising from Captain Dan’s knowledge and experience around these wild and magnificent creatures!

January 10th, 2016

Monday, January 11th, 2016

The new year has brought an increasing number of Humpback whale visitors to the warm and calm waters off the Kona/Kohola coast along the leeward side of Hawaii Island. With the experience and skill of Captain Dan’s 45 years of time around these animals, we have had a perfect sighting record and many great “up close” looks at these wild but gentle creatures.
Although every trip out into nature is never the same, many of our guests have been treated to seeing these magnificent creatures resting under the boat in the clear waters, hearing their whale songs through our underwater microphones, mothers with newborn calves, and aerial displays (breeches and head and tail slaps) from these 40 ton acrobats!
Passengers have also been entertained by numerous encounters with Bottlenose dolphins (“Flipper”) mixed in with Humpback whales, as well as Spinner dolphins in the shallow waters along the coastlines. And for you bird enthusiasts – there have been great sightings of numerous migratory species of marine birds as well!
On Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures you will be treated with warm hospitality, including complimentary and tasty refreshments and snacks, as well as educational information given first by Captain Dan himself and supplemented by his well-educated, experienced and friendly crew.
It’s always best to plan ahead in this busy whale watching season, so book soon! To book our adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808 322-0028 (888-942-5376 toll free) or simply click on the Make A Reservation tab to the left of the screen on our website at www.ilovewhales.com. We offer both a 7 AM and 11 AM departure times, both 3 hours in length. If you want the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, less traffic, soft lighting for getting great pics, and the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion.
We look forward to serving you and providing you with the whale watching benefits arising from Captain Dan’s knowledge and experience around these wild and magnificent creatures!

December 1st, 2015

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

After a summer and fall of observing stunning and intelligent Orca whales in The Pacific Northwest, Captain Dan McSweeney has returned to Hawaii to continue his work with the magnificent Humpback whales. For several weeks now, the number of Humpbacks returning to the Big Island waters to join resident whales has steadily increased, and although January, February and March are their biggest migration months, there have already been numerous sightings of cows and calves along with pairs and singles. We are beginning to see mothers and calves playing atop the warm Pacific Ocean, their tails slapping the ocean and fins gently waving above the water. These playful mothers can be as much as 40 feet long and weigh 60,000 -80,000 pounds when they arrive. At birth, their calves are a mere 11-14 feet long and weigh about 2,000 pounds, but their rate of growth makes their year old counterparts difficult to distinguish from other whales. Lone males have already been spotted as they dive beneath the surface and sing the mysterious humpback song deep in the water.
Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch will begin their Humpback season mid-December, as the Humpbacks continue increase in number and visibility. Also, Pilot Whales and Beaked Whales, smaller than the Humpback, but unique in that they travel in groups that can number as many as 30, are playing in the waters around the island. In addition there have been several sightings of the elusive false killer whales, a rare treat for everyone. As always, the whales are sometimes joined by spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins, who love to play in the wake of the Whale Watch boat.
Captain McSweeney’s Whale watch guarantees whale sightings. However, if you happen to be on the rare trip where a whale is not sighted, you will be given a second excursion at our expense, and treated with warm hospitality, as is the norm on all our trips. All trips include tasty refreshments and snacks, as well as educational information given first by Captain Dan himself, and supplemented by his well-educated, experienced and friendly crew.
It’s best to plan ahead in this busy season, so book soon! To book your adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808-322-0028 or simply click the Make a Reservation tab to the left of the screen on our website www.ilovewhales.com. Captain Dan offers both a 7 am and 11 am departure, both of which are 3 hours in length. If you prefer the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, best lighting for getting great pics, and having the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion. We look forward to serving you and providing you with the whale watching benefits arising from Captain Dan’s knowledge and experience around these wild creatures!

February 28th, 2015

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

We are at high season here at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures! Everywhere we go we see whales, whales and more whales. The bumper season for visiting Humpback Whales is strong with the presence of many young calves and mothers enjoying the warm and plentiful waters of the great Pacific Ocean. Where we find mothers and calves, we also find escorts and single males. These giants often serenade the Whale Watch vessel with the unique song of the Humpback, heard through our special underwater microphone system so that all of our guests can have the once in a lifetime experience of whale song as we travel along the Kona/Kohala coast. Lots of splash behaviors like breeching, tail slapping and pectoral fin slapping seen as these giants interact with each other
The mighty Humpback is a people-friendly whale, with the mothers sometimes swimming near the Whale Watch vessel to show off their recently born calves before granting a personal photography session for customers including massive tail flips, fin slaps and stunning breaches. Once they tire of entertaining they will sometimes drift under the boat in plain view of passengers looking down into the very clear and calm waters off Hawaii. Quite a thrill!
Among the Humpbacks we often have fun encounters with bottlenose and spinner dolphins interacting with humpback whales. These creatures seem miniscule next the Humpbacks, but have a bit of a mischievous heart as they romp and jump among their giant cousins. In addition, we have had the unusual experience of finding Manta Rays jumping out of the salty water as they feed in established current lines on concentrations of small prey. These Manta Rays are bigger than most and are a bit shy, but we are finding them more and more often, giving our passengers a rare photo shot experience and showing them similar feeding styles to those of the humpback whales.
It is the perfect time of year to come and join us at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch Experience! Warm, sunny weather with calm seas make for a perfect encounter with the giant creatures of the sea. Call early at 888-942-5376 or simply click the reservation button to the left of the main screen to reserve your seat on the 7:00am or 11:00 am trip. We look forward to serving you with snacks, information, photographic opportunities and a sense of friendship that can only be found on the Island of Hawaii!

January 6th, 2015

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

This year Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures has begun its season with amazing sightings! Humpbacks are continuing to flow into the calm waters around the Kona coast as the migration of this endangered species continues. Each trip has had the pleasure of sharing the ocean with these gentle giants and their dolphin associates. Calves and mothers are enjoying themselves in the warm sun, swimming near enough to the Whale Watch vessel to allow passengers a good look. They often will lift a fin or a tail for happy participants with raised cameras. In addition to amazing sightings of mothers and calves, male singing whales have been heard as well as “friendly” Humpback visits towards and under the boat as they arrive in greater numbers. Mating groups of Humpbacks have also been encountered.
As the days of Hawaii winter progress, more humpbacks will move along the coastal areas, providing more and more interactions between individuals and groups. They will entertain passengers with spectacular displays of breaching, head slams, tail lobs and pectoral fin slaps which, of course, include the huge splashes that everyone loves.
One additional thrill we are currently having at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch is spotting the newest of the Endangered Marine Mammal in Hawaii. False Killer whales have the dubious distinction of being listed in this category a few years back with a population estimated at only about 150 individuals around the Islands. The most commonly encountered pod, what we call “cluster #1,” has an individual that is carrying a satellite tracking tag. The group has been circling Hawaii Island over the past few weeks and we’ve found them on several trips. They are a rare delight and we have had the privilege of seeing them in their natural behaviors, including chasing down large fish like the Ahi (tuna) and Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish). When the pod of False Killer whales capture their favorite meal, participating individual whales often “share” the spoils with each other before continuing the chase for additional food. To the delight of tour participants there are now rare pictures on many cameras.
In addition, Dolphins can sometimes be seen swimming among the whales and playing with them as we watch. Spinner, Bottlenose and Spotted dolphins will also swim in the wake of the vessel and with the Humpback whales, entertaining Whale Watch participants for the sheer joy of it! All of this has happened in the first weeks of this Whale Watch, and with the peak of the Humpback whale migration still months away we look forward to a continuously exciting whale watching season!
Be sure to book your seats on Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch early as the seats fill up quickly. We run twice daily, at 7:00am and 11:00am, and it is our pleasure to serve you not only with whale sightings but snacks and well documented information about all of the whales we see on our trips. Come join us, have some snacks and refreshments and remember, bring your camera! You can make reservations by clicking the link to the left or by calling 888-942-5376. We look forward to having you aboard with Captain Dan!

December 16th, 2014

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

After a Summer and Fall observing stunning and intelligent Orca whales in Washington State and giant yet gentle Southern Right Whales off the coast of the Peninsula Valdez in Argentinian Patagonia, Captain Dan McSweeney has come home to Hawaii to continue his work with the mighty Humpback whales. For several weeks now the number of Humpbacks returning to the Hawaii has steadily increased and although January-February and March are their biggest migration months, there have already been spottings of cows arriving to give birth and rear their young as recently born calves discovering a warm oceanic playground. Often, the mothers and calves can be seen playing atop the water, with fins slapping the ocean and tails rising out of the water. These mothers are as much as 40 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds when they arrive. Their calves, at birth are a mere 11-16 feet long and weigh about 2000 pounds, but will gain weight rapidly and within a year be difficult to distinguish form other juvenile whales. In addition, pods of 5 or more whales and lone males have been spotted as they sing the mysterious humpback song while searching for a mate.
Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch will begin their Humpback season mid-December as the Humpbacks continue increase in number and visibility. In addition, the giant Sperm Whale, easy to identify and amazing to observe, has made its presence known in the deeper waters beyond the Humpback nursery and swimming areas. Also, Pilot Whales, smaller than the Humpback and Sperm Whale, but unique in that they travel in groups that can number as many as 30, are playing in the waters around the island. As always, the whales are sometimes joined by spinner, spotted and bottleneck dolphins who love to play in the wake of the Whale Watch boat. Captain McSweeney’s Whale watch guarantees whale sightings. However, if you happen to be on the rare trip where a whale is not sighted, you will be given a second excursion at our expense and treated with the same warm hospitality, as is the norm on all our trips, including cool refreshments and snacks as well as educational information given first by Captain Dan himself and supplemented by his well-educated crew.
We find that a commonly asked question when it comes to whale watching is, “Which is better to see the whales – the 2.0 hour whale watch trips or the longer 3 hour trips like Captain McSweeney’s Whale Watch provides?” That is a very good question. In answer, we understand that whales are wild creatures that move around a big ocean environment. As with watching any wild creature – the longer you have to watch the more you are likely to see. If you are limited by time and want only a “glimpse” of some whales spouting in the distance, than the shorter whale watches might be for you. However, if you want a chance to “watch” whale behaviors develop from simple swimming and spouting to fin slapping and breaching; or if you would like breathtaking photo opportunities; the kind of trip Captain McSweeney’s Whale Watch provides is the one you would enjoy.
Its best to plan ahead in this busy season, so book soon! To book your adventure and indulge your whale watching desire, call us directly at 808-322-0028 or simply click the Make a Reservation icon to the left of the screen on our web site www.ilovewhales.com. If you want the calmer water, cooler air temperatures, nice lighting for getting great pics and the rest of the day to enjoy other activities, you might want to consider booking the early morning excursion. Dan offers both a 7am and 11 am departure. Both trips are 3 hours in length. We look forward to serving you and providing you with the whale watching benefits of Captain Dan’s knowledge and experience around these wild creatures!

April 12th, 2014

Monday, April 14th, 2014

We at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures have thoroughly enjoyed the 2013-2014 whale watching season. We have made countless trips into the warm Pacific waters to successfully locate and enjoy the multitudes of Humpback whales as they surrounded the island of Hawaii. Often, we have been thrilled to hear the singing of the male whales including the unusual experience of seeing a male sing while “escorting” a mother and calf.
As much as we have enjoyed listening to the males, we have also been thrilled as the mothers and caves joined them in entertaining us with their massive water spouting, breaching and flipper twisting antics. In addition, we have laughed at the comic shows of the many spinner and bottle nose dolphins as they jumped into the air and swam happily in our wake.
It has been our pleasure to serve our guests, educating and encouraging them to dive into the life of the Pacific Island whales. Our patrons have given us great joy and it has been our delight to serve them. Our work, whether it be watching or research, is significantly enhanced by the interest of those who come and enjoy the Whale Watch with us.
Though it has been a memorable year at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch, we must bid it goodbye. The Humpbacks have begun their migration back to the cooler nutrient rich waters of the Pacific Northwest on their way to the more frigid waters of Alaska. We have enjoyed them but wish them well as they go.
Thus, we have taken out last trip for the season. Captain Dan has some work to do both here on the Big Island in the Pacific Northwest before he goes on hiatus with the whales at the South African Cape and the Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia. We look forward to his return in the fall and the beginning of the 2014-2015 season.
We will begin taking reservations for the next season on September 01, 2014. Be sure to make your reservations for next season as early as possible clicking the “Make a Reservation” link on the left of the screen.
Captain Dan gives you his Aloha for now, and looks forward to seeing you next season!!

March 3rd, 2014

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

It has been a wonderful and fanciful season so far at Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures! We continue to have one of a kind trips with multifaceted opportunities to enjoy the activities of the great Humpback whales as well as other creatures inhabiting the salty blue waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii. As we head into the month of March we are enamored with the parade of Humpback mothers swimming alongside their calves, born after a lengthy 12 month gestation and drinking somewhere between 50 and 100 gallons of a fat-rich milk per day. These mothers and calves are typically the last to leave the warm waters of the deep Pacific and head back up to the cooler waters of Alaska.
Spotting the Humpback mothers and calves is made easier this time of year by the presence of male escorts, many of whom are quite happy to help the moms and calves entertain Whale Watch participants with mighty breaches, fins slapping the water; and as only the males can. Males can also be found nearby or sometimes even below the boat to sing their whale song, unique to the year and fascinating to the human ear. These songs are sung without solicitation and as of yet, research has not defined the reasons. However, the hearing of the song always brings a smile to the Whale Watch crew and guest! In fact, the activity of these giant mammals is extensive at this time of year as it is common to find active mating groups of Humpbacks containing 6-10 males pursuing female interests. Our three hour trips are filled with the thrilling experience of seeing whales that are often longer than the boat, and yet so gentle and unassuming that they sometimes swim right alongside the stationary vessel, seemingly offering themselves up for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity. As though frosting on the Whale Watch cake, Bottlenose Dolphins cruise among the giants, romping and leaping into the air amidst the powerful blast of the Humpback whale spout.
We invite you to join us at Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch during the month of March! Bring your love of whales, your camera, your sense of exploration and your eagerness to learn. Captain Dan and his crew will certainly satisfy your curiosity, as the trip is informative as well as entertaining. While Captain Dan narrates your adventure, his crew will be happy to serve you snacks and drinks; be sure your questions are answered; and help you find the best angle for a unique photo, because at Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch Adventure, your pleasure is our business. To book a Whale Watch Adventure, simply click the ‘make a reservation’ icon to your left or call us at 888-942-5376. We look forward to meeting you and sharing in one of our whale watching learning adventures.

Captain Dan’s Whale Watch Blog is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).