Thursday, February 11, 2010
'Tis The Season
Luckily the state of Hawaii is aware of the risks associated with whale season and has kindly created several pull over spots for humpback whale gawkers. And lest you think it'a\s all about the tourists, think again. The locals are experts as spotting our finned friends and their passion for pulling over and staring in awe as these gentle giants put on their show is as fresh and enthusiastic as a first time visitor.
Here's a cool little chart of whale behavior I found on http://www.napali.com/
The normal pattern of exhalation and inhalation at the surface. We also call it a puff or spouting. It looks like a cloud of mist.
Signals a deep dive. Humpbacks will usually bring its flukes (tail) high above the surface of the water, propelling it straight down. We call it the tail wave or high five.
The whale rolls to the side, slapping its pectoral fins against the water. We always they the whales are waving hi!
The whale rises vertically to a point where the eyes are above water, then spins on it’s longitudinal axis to get a look at the surrounding area.
The whale propels itself out of the water, generally clearing the surface with two-thirds of its body or more, often with a twisting motion. Amazing!
I have yet to capture a breach in a photo. The most amazing one we saw happened at the turtle tidepools. My sweet boy fell and scraped up his knee on the sharp lava rock. He howled so loud that two whales breached at the same time just spitting distance from where we were. Do I click the photo or pull the crying boy off the rocks? Obviously a mom's duty comes first, and the moment will remain in my head. I keep telling Zach to howl like that again to get the whales to breach some more. ;)
There are all sort of tours operations taking folks out to get a closer look. And all sorts of laws set up to protect the whales, espcially since they come here to give birth and the babies are especially vulnerable.