Whale Watching Adventure

Today I took a Whale Watching trip out of Moloka'i Hawaii.  This is my second whale watching that I have done over the past several years.  Today's boat was a 44' "fishing" type boat and there were 15 "watchers" and a crew of 2.  The wind was pretty strong so there were 6-8 ft swells which made for tough shooting trying to hand-hold my Nikon with the 80-400mm zoom lens.

  The first sighting was a mother and baby.  The Humpback whales travel from Alaska to the Hawaiian waters to give birth to their calves.  The do not eat once they leave the Alaskan waters.  The calves nurse while they are here and hopefully gain enough weight and strength for the long journey back to Alaska in the spring.

 

The first sighting was a mother and baby.  The Humpback whales travel from Alaska to the Hawaiian waters to give birth to their calves.  The do not eat once they leave the Alaskan waters.  The calves nurse while they are here and hopefully gain enough weight and strength for the long journey back to Alaska in the spring.

  One of the shots you see in all the shops and on the postcards is the "tail shot."  The top image is of the whale going away from the boat while the bottom image is of a whale come towards the boat.  The underside of the body and tail have white marking on them.  Each whale's marking are different, so the researchers can track specific whales by studying these markings. Our captain said he hates to see tails because it means that the whale is diving and probably will be down for some time...not good for the whale watching business.  I was glad I got to see tails today as in my last whale watching trip I did not see any so no "tail shot" in my library.

 

One of the shots you see in all the shops and on the postcards is the "tail shot."  The top image is of the whale going away from the boat while the bottom image is of a whale come towards the boat.  The underside of the body and tail have white marking on them.  Each whale's marking are different, so the researchers can track specific whales by studying these markings.

Our captain said he hates to see tails because it means that the whale is diving and probably will be down for some time...not good for the whale watching business.  I was glad I got to see tails today as in my last whale watching trip I did not see any so no "tail shot" in my library.

  the other shot you see all the time is the "breech."  this is where the whale propels itself out of the water and then comes crashing down with a huge splash.

 

the other shot you see all the time is the "breech."  this is where the whale propels itself out of the water and then comes crashing down with a huge splash.

  I always hope for a whale to breech and then come back for a few more, but this seldom happens.  So you hope that you are ready when it does happen.

 

I always hope for a whale to breech and then come back for a few more, but this seldom happens.  So you hope that you are ready when it does happen.

  This breech happened about 20 yards for the boat.  I was holding the camera in my arm looking for signs of whales when out of the corner of my eye I caught some action.  I just pressed the shutter and even with the motor drive set to continuous high, I only got the last of the breech...oh and believe me, it was a great breech!

 

This breech happened about 20 yards for the boat.  I was holding the camera in my arm looking for signs of whales when out of the corner of my eye I caught some action.  I just pressed the shutter and even with the motor drive set to continuous high, I only got the last of the breech...oh and believe me, it was a great breech!

  What another tail shot?  Yes it is a tail, but this whale is doing a "tail slap."  The whale has lifted it's tail out of the water and is whinging it down to slap the water (Note the water flinging off the top of the tail.)  The resultant thump can be heard for miles and it is believed they do it as a warning to others in the area.

 

What another tail shot?  Yes it is a tail, but this whale is doing a "tail slap."  The whale has lifted it's tail out of the water and is whinging it down to slap the water (Note the water flinging off the top of the tail.)  The resultant thump can be heard for miles and it is believed they do it as a warning to others in the area.

  This particular whale put on quite a show for us for several minutes.  He first was on his back (top image) as the black was visible.  The bottom image he is on his stomach just lifting the tail and slapping it down. I took a video in hopes of capturing the loud thumping when the tail crashed down, but it was too windy so ally hear is the wind howling.  But the video still portrays the force they create.

 

This particular whale put on quite a show for us for several minutes.  He first was on his back (top image) as the black was visible.  The bottom image he is on his stomach just lifting the tail and slapping it down.

I took a video in hopes of capturing the loud thumping when the tail crashed down, but it was too windy so ally hear is the wind howling.  But the video still portrays the force they create.