Friday, February 26, 2010

Whale Watching Off the Big Island of Hawaii

One day of our vacation we went whale watching! We had a perfect sunny day for it. Captain Dan McSweeney out of Kona was recommended in "The Big Island Revealed." That turned out to be a good choice. He as been following and researching the whales for decades and has good knowledge about where to find them, their habits, and how to position the boat well away from the whales and still have good visibility.

Jennifer stayed on the bottom deck, as it's supposed to be a little smoother ride and she is prone to seasickness. I'm happy to report that even though she did feel a little queasy towards the end of the 3 hour trip, she did not get sick. Yea, Jen!

Ted and I rode on the top where the view is completely unobstructed. During the 20 minute ride out, we started spotting humpback whales blowing....there are plenty of them in the area! McSweeney stopped well away from the whales, but before long two whales swam right up to the boat and stayed for about 20 minutes! I think his long experience following the whales enables him to anticipate the movement of the whales, and position his boat well for this type of encounter.

While they are in Hawaiian waters the whales give birth and breed. They spend their summers in Alaskan waters. Sometimes you can see two whales spouting next to each other...a large spout and a smaller one...mother and baby. Jennifer and I stopped and watched the whales from shore one day and we saw this several times.

Amazing to be this close to these huge creatures!

This might be a whale "Aloha!"

And this too!

Throughout the trip, the captain and crew were giving great information about the whales and the area we were cruising. They also provided drinks, snacks and, very welcome towards the end of several hours in the sun, a cool cloth to refresh.

They say we were very fortunate, and that the whales do not always come this close. If you go to Hawaii during the winter, I'd definitely recommend going whale was one of the highlights of our trip!

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