Humpback whales

humpback mother and calf

humpback breachingWhale season is underway again. The first Humpbacks were seen back in November, but it wasn’t until late December that I started to see them regularly, if not exactly often. Also, the whales that I did see were either not terribly active or too far away to get decent photos.

A couple of days ago, out on my regular walk along the coast, I thought I was out of luck again when I came across this mother and calf. I saw the mother make only one breach, but the calf breached multiple times as they cruised long the coast.

Above, the mother cruises alongside while her calf raises itself out of the water one more time. To the right and below, the calf breaches.

Humpback whales make the long journey from their feeding grounds in Alaska to breed and to calve in Hawaii. But researchers are concerned that the number of whales sighted in Hawaiian waters has declined between 50 and 80 percent over the last four years. A recent conference in Honolulu attributed that decline to warmer waters in Alaska affecting the whales’ food supply. However, it’s not clear exactly how widespread that disruption is, how it affects humpback behavior, and whether overall humpback numbers are affected. But it is clear, at least to this casual observer, that the numbers aren’t bouncing back this year.

humpback calf breaches

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9 thoughts on “Humpback whales

  1. Pingback: Humpback whale tail slaps | Graham's Island

    • Right now, it’s not clear whether the decline in sightings numbers reflects a decline in actual humpback numbers or just that they’re going elsewhere. Determining that is one of the prime goals right now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The peak season runs from January through March, so you should have a reasonable chance of seeing some. There are more on the west side of the island than the east. Having said that, last year when I did that whale count on the last Saturday in March, we didn’t see a single whale in 4 hours of watching! I’ll let you know how it’s going this year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is scary, and there’s also an ongoing battle with the Navy about doing sonar exercises. It’s not clear how that impacts the whales, and other sea creatures. I just appreciate them when I’m able to see them, though I still haven’t been able to get the best whale photos I’d like.

      Liked by 1 person

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