Whale 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. The other photos are of the calf breaching.
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.