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Archive for March, 2013

Competition groups are a difficult thing to judge sometimes.  When whales come together and fight for the right to mate with a female, the number in the group grows.  Especially once we have passed the peak of the season and the number of females in  the area begins to decline, the amount of aggression and activity from the males seems to increase drastically.  It is as if you can sense to desperation that the guys will have swam all this way and potentially leave without meeting a nice girl.  As the number in the group grows, it becomes more and more difficult to figure out exactly how many animals you are looking at.

I would imagine that we were looking at about 15-20 whales yesterday morning.  They were not especially active but as time passed we started to see it picking up.  We had to go but I kept hoping we would run into them later on once the battle really got going.  It is amazing anytime you can see animals of this size but when they come together in these large groups it always leaves me in awe.

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After years of watching these giant creatures, I am still reminded, each day, of why I respect them and am in awe of them.  I think for all of us whale lovers, there is a pivotal moment that catches our attention and makes us interested for life.  I had this type of experience on my very first whale watch, which in hindsight, led me to create this site and always seek jobs that have allowed me to whale watch.  I continue to experience these moments out in the Maui Nui Basin, the only difference being, it’s not my first rodeo anymore.

Two days ago, we had a whale deliberately approach the boat.  He very obviously turned, approached, and hung out.  Our captain mentioned that this was the same whale he had seen the day before.  To me, certain whale encounters are remarkable and will never leave my memory bank.  Do whales have the same experience with us?  Is it possible they remember our boats? The sounds of our engines?  Or, perhaps, if they don’t remember, do they instead have engine noises they are more attracted to?  Dr. Jim Darling recently made a comparison from whales to dogs.  He claimed that dogs live in a world of scent that is 10,000 x greater than what we know, they beleive the same is true of whales and sound.  Maybe the smallest click makes a difference and interests them more than another boat.

At each company I have worked for, there has always been the cliche, “Whales love (insert boat name here.)”  They have each been of the belief that there is one boat in their fleet that the whales prefer over any other. Maybe this is the case.  Personal experience certainly backs this up.  But maybe it is observational bias, the idea that we want them to like the boat we are on and the company we work for.  Who knows? But until they tell me otherwise, I choose to beleive they remember us, our enthusiasm, and the love we have for them.

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Eaves Dropping

Eaves Dropping

If you have ever been to Maui during this time of year and have gone snorkeling, you will quickly realize that you can hear the whales under water very easily.  In Kihei, there is a buoy set up that has a microphone constantly recording.  If you are interested in listening in while not on Maui feel free to click the link here and listen in to what these guys are talking about!

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