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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Whaler's life for me

Since the ladies are the card carrying member of the Pacific Whale Foundation, one of our perks was a free trip to return to the whales.  All the planets were aligned, and we arrived for check in at 8:15 for our 9:00 departure.

The sun was shining, and it appeared to be a full boat.  We were loving our other perk which was early boarding.  Knowing the lay of the land, we were quick on our feet, and secured our perfect position on the top deck.

Camera's were poised ready for any action.  I wasn't going to be fooled this time, I knew what I was looking for and wasn't going to take endless photos of the ocean with whales not performing.  We tried sweet talking them, we tried coaxing them, we tried silence, and in the beginning it seemed as if nothing was going to help.

Then, in front of the boat, at 12:00 (boat talk) we saw a herd of competition males.  These are the fellas that try to win over the female for their affection.  Not unlike many boys you know, these guys play rough.  There was puffing and huffing, slamming, etc.
This young guy thrilled us with his fluke flying high..so close to the boat I was shocked that I had the camera in the right spot.

The competitive pod consisted of five whales.  Here are two that were getting into it.
We were so thrilled with all the flukes, but feeling greedy we started calling for a breach.  I wanted to be close and to capture that gentle giant propelling himself out of the water.  Our first trip, we didn't see any.  We see several each day from our lanai, and I really wanted one shot of whale close to us doing his thing. 

We noticed whales on the opposite side of the boat to where we were camped.  I slipped down the stairs and made my way to the back of the boat.  I had been avoiding this area, as it's where they told people to go who were feeling sea sick.  I didn't want to see anyone losing their breakfast, but the need to see the whales was greater.  Lots of room, and I stood on the rail when I heard a noise, firing my camera like a crazy woman, I prayed that the photos would be focused.  I returned to the top and told the girls, he'd breached and I hoped I'd gotten it...here for your viewing pleasure is the big kahuna of Lahaina, a nice show he put on.
The sounds the whales made were amazing.  When they blow, it's shockingly loud, and one whale in particular sounded like a loud horse blowing air through their mouths.  We learned that when whales spout, it's not water inside of them, but water on their outside they are blowing away, as well as mucus.  Yes, good old snot.  This one's for you Ty guy...whale snot..scientists use this DNA to tell whether the whale is male, female, or pregnant.  Useful stuff, eh?
So the white floaters are what the whale blew.  He just didn't have a hankie.
Here is an example of a boat that is too close to the whales.  There is a 100 yard minimum that you are supposed to keep.  We watched this boat chasing the competitive males, and they did get up close and personal.

As we returned to the harbor, I was feeling so satisfied.  The ocean was glistening, the sun was beating down, the whales had cooperated beautifully, and I felt so thankful to be able to spend time in this paradise.
I have one more full day in Maui, The Rea's and Lee's have another week.  It's been fabulous, that's for sure. We left the boat, and met Gary & Wayne at "Jack's" a pirate themed restaurant that sits upstairs and overlooks Front Street.  Yummy ono tacos, and a cold beer to celebrate a day of whaling.

                                       The End!  Such a cute little hitchhiker.....

2 comments:

Baby G's Grandparents said...

OMG--GREAT shots of the whale breaching! What a perfect whale-watching outing you had! And the kayak story from yesterday was a kick--good job paddling through the rough seas, but OUCH! Enjoy your remaining time in Maui!! Sounds like it was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure, good fish and good drinks.

MommyG said...

Second the OMG....the shots of the whale is AMAZING! so glad you are having such a wonderful time!

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