Captain Dan's Blog

Archive for February, 2012

Februrary 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The humpback whales continue to provide a continuous show here off the west coast of the Big Island. If while you are visiting the Island you witness tremendous splashes off shore, no doubt, they are coming from the seasonal humpback whale. This behavior is called “breaching” when the animal lifts its entire body clear of the water and then splashes back down into the sea. Though most whales exhibit breaching behavior, the humpbacks are the most well known for this aerial spectacular of all whale species.

The months of February and March are good months to find mother humpback whales with their young calves. This week has been no exception with a lot of sightings of the youngsters, some just new born, while others are already a few months old. Calves will stay with their mothers nursing here on the breeding ground until they are well nourished and strong enough to make the long journey north back to Alaska. It is always a delight to see the young calves in Hawaiian waters.

Every day holds a new adventure. Many trips are topped off with a show of jumping from the popular spinner dolphin as well as lately by some spotted dolphins, an offshore relative. Spotted dolphins are capable of launching their small bodies out of the water more than 20 feet out of the water on a jump! To book your whale watch adventure, call Captain Dan at 808-322-0028

February 16, 2012

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

WOW! Just when we thought it could not get any better, it has…2012 is proving to be a great year for whale watching in Hawaii. This week brought us several amazing spectacles…imagine an 80,000 pound animal launching its massive body out of the water, into the air, and then crashing back down with a thunderous splash. This behavior, called “breaching” seems to occur mostly when there are a large number of whales in a given area. Thought to be some sort of dominant display like a dog raising its hackles, breaching is an awesome sight. It is all over in less than a second, but when you are fortunate enough to witness a breaching whale, the memory lasts a life time.
Along with regular encounters with humpback whales, we have seen both pygmy and dwarf sperm whales as well as pygmy killer whales. In the past these smaller whales have tended to remain further off shore in deeper waters but recently something has brought them in closer to the coastline, likely food. In fact, there have been multiple sightings of black and white killer whales and their tropical cousin the false killer whale, also hanging not far off shore. These residential whales (there are a dozen varieties we see with good regularity) make Hawaii their home all year round. Not often seen by visitors as they tend to stay away from the shallow water coastline (unlike our seasonal visitors the humpback whales), these whales have teeth and need to hunt for their food daily. Humpback whales, on the other hand, have no teeth but rather use a strong flexible material called baleen (made from the same protein that makes up our hair and fingernails!) to filter small food out of the cold water of the Pacific Northwest. Although, these humpback whales do not actually eat while they are in Hawaii, they may lose as many as 15,000 pounds of body fat during their time in the breeding grounds around the islands.

Dolphins continue to entertain us on many tours and always leave guests with a smile as they play, leaping and spinning as they go along.

See what Mother Nature has in store for you. To book your whale watching tour, call our reservations line at 1-808-322-0028.

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