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Sunday, March 29, 2009
Humpbacks in Hawaii
It's Humpback whale season in the islands.
I've been wanting to get out in my kayak and paddle around, but this has been a wild and windy winter season. Two years ago, I had a very humbling experience with the wind and have been cautious since then. I am a strong paddler from all my experience with outrigger canoe paddling. However, the "wind line" swallowed me up despite all my efforts. It was an experience I won't forget, and don't want to repeat.
The very early morning is the best time to go out, the wind has not picked up yet. Even in a big boat, it's not as easy to spot the whales when the ocean is filled with whitecaps from the wind.
To be out in a kayak and experience a whale cruising by, takes my breath away. Time stands still, and all I can think about is how blessed I am, and how magnificent the whales are. They breach and blow and slap and dive, and it is always a thrill to witness.
Today I have some whale photos to post that were taken by a recent guest, Alan Fritzberg. He shared them at breakfast with everyone, and said I could post them. His shots are great, and I was excited to see them.
The Humpback whale season in Hawaii is Nov-May. They travel down from Alaska to give birth and mate. The whales do not eat while in Hawaii. They fill up on krill, 1 to 1and 1/2 tons a day(!!!) to stock up for the trip. Their round trip jaunt is a mere 4,000 miles a season.
An adult whale is 40-50 ft long,and weighs 25-40 tons. Each female bears a calf every 2-3 years. Their gestation period is 12 months long. The calf at birth is 10-15 feet long. The calf nurses often.
The male "Kohola" Hawaiian word for whale, is the singer. They sing long, complex songs, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes long. It may be part of mating behavior, also used to navigate and establish hierarchy.It is an amazing experience to hear their song...it vibrates right through your body and speaks to your soul. I like to go under water to listen to them singing.
Whale season is not over yet, if you have never experienced an encounter with these gentle giants, treat yourself and book a whale watch, or look for them from shore... you will be glad you did!
Our wonderful Maui Ocean Center has a great interactive whale display. It is a complete aquarium with a fish tunnel where I love to watch the graceful manta rays.
oooooo eeeeeeee...shrrreeeee..ooooooo uuuuuuu.. rrrrrreeee... ( whale song!..you have to hear it for yourself!)
A hui ho, until later....