Thursday, March 10, 2011


This past Tuesday we set sail on a whale watch with Pacific Whale Foundation. I was a little worried that we would not see much activity because from the shore we saw NOTHING. But once we set sail... we were treated to the best whale watch we have ever been on. Mom had already been on a watch last year, but this trip was grandma's first whale watching experience. The boat gets pretty crowded and I was worried she would not really be able to see much from her seat. It's really hard for her to stand for long, but she gave it her all and made it to the railing several times. Other passengers were quite polite and tried hard not to block her view. She was indeed treated to an amazing show of over 20 whale sitings... maybe more. I'm ready to go on another watch before the season ends. 

Our chariot awaits.
Before you board they honswaggle you into posing for a picture that they want you to purchase for $10 when you leave the boat. Guess who fell for it hook, line and sinker. Well, it is a really good shot.
Getting situated on the lower deck. The view from here is actually just as good if not better than the upper deck if you ask me.
The railing right in front of our seats. Standing here you get an unobstructed view as the boat takes you out into the deep blue.
Not long after heading out we spot our first pod. A mother and baby and two male suitors.
This is the baby whale. While the 2 males were vying for mothers attention, the baby was not having any of it. It was on it;s back, flapping that tail about constantly for 15 minutes. This is a form of communication between the mother and baby.You can just see its flippers sticking out of the water.
More baby "talk".
Not sure if this might be mother or a male suitor.
A classic tail descending the water on a dive.
Here you can see all 3 adults. 2 going opposite directions and one right in the middle of them facing away from the camera. That may be the female being harassed by the 2 males. At this point The captain had stopped the engines because the whales had actually gotten too close.

Pacific Whale Foundation's vessels are required to follow "Be Whale Aware" guidelines for minimizing disturbances and preventing collisions in areas where whales and dolphins are present. These "Be Whale Aware" guidelines set vessel speed limits and limit the amount of time that can be spent around whale pods. In addition, Pacific Whale Foundation captains strictly adhere to all Federal and State laws which prohibit approaches to humpback whales within 100 yards. To eliminate any guesswork about the 100 yard distance, Pacific Whale Foundation's vessels are outfitted with Laser Range Finders.

After about 15 minutes of just floating and waiting for the whales to resurface... This guy shot out of the water like a rocket about 40-50 yards from the boat. RIGHT THERE! I kept the heads of the spectators in this shot so you could see just how close we really were. This guy actually breached 4 times in less than 2 minutes. It was absolutely mind boggling. 
Detail of above breach.
Even closer detail.
2nd breach.
2nd breach as the whale rotated itself counterclockwise mid-air.
Detail of above shot. This is the under side showing the outline of the mouth.
This is a sequence showing a fin slap which is another form of communication.
A whale doing what is called a "spy hop". That's when a whale sticks it's head up out of the water to have a look around.
Not only did we see whales, but many flying fish. Can you spot it in the upper part of this image?
Detail on the bottom is a little blurry. Buggers are fast.
The whales are not the only thing worth viewing. This is a shot of Lanai.
And a shot of West Maui and Lahaina Town to the left.


Joan said...

OMG these shots are amazing. You were right!

Mi-No said...

seeing these photos, i almost feel like i was there. sooooooooo cool.

jon said...

wow- what an incredible experience!