Saturday, March 9, 2013

Glorious Humpbacks


We are feeling the first hints of spring and  winter whale season is slowly winding down. This is the time of year when the Humpback calves  are practicing jumping, tail slapping, head pops, as well as nursing to grow stronger.  The whales are enjoying the  friendly waters of the Hawaiian islands for another month or so before they start their arduousness journey , 3000 miles north to Alaska. 
Last week, Kekoa, Virginia and I, paddled out in the 6 man Outrigger Canoe celebrating my birthday, quietly watching and enjoying the morning light. A mom and calf pair circled us for 2 hours nursing and resting, while we drifted. It was such a treat... very peaceful with with no other boats around.
I used to  train and race with Hawaiian Canoe Club,and being in an outrigger canoe connecting to the ocean was pure birthday bliss,..
 We could see breaching males  further out in the channel competing for the females. With the  ratio being two males to one female, it can get rather competitive as they vie for a female's attention in the hopes of mating at the end of their Hawaiian "vacation".
Kekoa Cramer, a Maui waterman, from the Wailea Canoe Club ,had been on the water the week before with some visitors when they experienced the surprise of their lives.  South Maui had alot of rain the evening prior so the ocean was quite murky. A Go Pro was mounted on the canoe to catch this extraordinary footage. This photo was taken by Laurent Lebihan and it's one of the most spectacular close encounter shots that I have ever seen.

 Check out Kekoa flying in the air off of his seat in the canoe..It looks as if the adolescent whale came in close enough to be surprised as well. Thankfully,  everyone was fine.. This link to Youtube is on the way to a million views...So, check it out, and enjoy. 
Humpback Whale Love Taps Canoe. Indeed.

Looking forward to the next paddle out in a few days...keeping it real !
With lots of Aloha, Cherie