Trips this week have been truly great with many humpback sightings. One pair of humpback whales surprisingly surfaced right under the boat, only a few feet away. Taking our breath away, these Goliaths proceeded to raise their giant tails in to the air making for the perfect photographic opportunity. On most tours, the spinner dolphins have been making an appearance, by the hundreds in the near shore waters, spiraling 7 revolutions in less than a single second mid-air. On more than one tour, we had large groups of bottlenose dolphin, also known as Flipper, for those of you familiar with the television series, mixed in with humpback whales. These inter-species interactions are always a delight to witness.
One tour even included a large group of manta rays milling at the surface. They are quite the spectacle, with average wingspans of 8 – 12 feet, resembling an underwater bird. Some manta rays on the island have been measured in at more than 19 feet from tip to tip. Similar to humpback whales, manta rays are easily identified by the unique pigmentation patterns that appear on the underside of their large wings. In the case of humpback whales, these patterns appear on the underside of their massive tails.
During the first week of January, we had quite an unusual encounter with a pair of humpback whales that we re-sighted each day for five consecutive days. During one encounter, they spontaneously began jumping out of the water, a behavior called breaching. Much to the amazement of everyone aboard, this went down in history. These encounters were documented and recorded in the research log. The tails were easily identifiable so we will easily recognize this pair should we come across them again in the season.
Humpback whales and spinner dolphins seem to be the star players, typical for this time of year. They never fail to surprise us with their playful curiosity. Book your tour today and witness nature at its best with the most informed and experienced whale watching crew on the Kona Coast …..