It’s that time of year again when a special visitor arrives near shore throughout the entire Hawaiian Island chain. The seasonal humpback whales visit the warm waters of Hawaii annually, escaping the harsh winter in the Northern hemisphere making the 3000 mile trek migration to warmer climes in as little as 30 days. It’s thought they come to Hawaii to socialize, mate, and rear their young. While there are here on the their breeding grounds, they virtually fast and eat little food. An adult humpback may lose as much as 20% of its body weight or as much as 15,000 pounds. Staying until late Spring, they return to the icy cold nutrient rich waters of Alaska and other areas of the PNW where they do their feeding during the summer months, gorging on as much as 1200 pounds of food per day.
Humpback whales, while still on the endangered species list, have done quite well for themselves since federal protection was put in place in the mid-1960s. Each year their population increases by nearly 7% with an estimated 20,000 in the eastern North Pacific.
For us at Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watching Adventures, this is always a special time of year when we welcome the return of our seasonal visitors. Captain Dan has more than four decades of experience with these whales, many he recognizes on sight. Each year we await the return of these goliaths and often times with newborn calves. Adults might weigh as much as forty tons while the youngsters are born at a mere ton and are nearly 11 feet in length. Gaining weight rapidly, by the time the youngster is weaned at one year old, it can be difficult to tell apart from other juveniles whales. Through out the years, Captain Dan has been involved in numerous research projects throughout the Pacific from Hawaii, to Alaska, to waters surrounding British Columbia and even Washington.
In the islands, the last few months have yielded a number of sightings of whale species including not only the early arriving humpback whales but some of our year round resident whales; in particular the Hawaiian Pilot whales, newly-designated endangered False killer whales, beaked whales and even the seldom seen Orca “killer” whale. Of course, closer inshore, we often come across the infamous spinner dolphins as well who often are engaged in their fun aerial antics.
Captain Dan begins running regular morning tours on Thursday, December 12th this year. Each trip yields unexpected surprises as we never know exactly what we will see. Captain’s Dan extends to all his guests the guarantee that you will see a whale or come again for free. To top it off, when you book direct with Captain Dan, you receive a complimentary picture of a whale he personally took on one of his whale research projects. Book your adventure early at 808-322-0028 or toll free at 888-942-5376 .