I volunteer almost weekly on the Prince Kuhio through a co-op program with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. We always see whales and we often see many. Today, we saw lots of blows off in the distance that we literally couldn’t get to. We were trapped by a pair of whales who seemed to be watching us as much as we were watching them.
We often see competitive pods and although we did see some of that today, it was off in the distance. We often see mama’s and babies but again they were off in the distance. The coast guard came to watch us — to make sure we didn’t break the 1000 yard rule. We didn’t approach closer; the whales turned and came right at us! We couldn’t rev up the engines until they left. The captain was afraid we’d be late getting back because we literally couldn’t move.
We did move from one side of the boat to the other at least 8 times. The two led a dance to one side and under the boat to the other. They would come up and peak at us with brown eyes and slip gently back under. The male (we were assuming the other was a female) would role over and expose his belly. We had a large pec slap just feet away from the boat.
We were blessed. The videographer, Michelle, laid down on the back swimstep and put her underwater camera in to get great underwater views of the dance from underwater. I can’t wait to get my copy.
The only sad thing was that there were only 15 passengers! Next time in Maui between Dec 15 and April 15, make sure to include a whale watch. I like the Prince Kuhio – the crew is great, the naturalist is knowledgeable and the volunteers are great;-)