Thursday, April 30, 2009

Promised Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are commonly seen along the Kona, Hawaii coastline from December through late March and early April. This is where they come to have their calves in the warmer climate during the winter months. Typically many whale watching charters are bustling during this time while tourists flock to see these extraordinary mammals breach and spout hoping to capture an image to keep, share, and tell their own whale tale. This is mine.

Knowing that this time of year it is very rare to see humpback whales, in fact, the pod these two were with have most likely started their migration back to the frigid waters of the northern Pacific, we were not expecting to see anything so majestic. Captain Jim, however, knew that some times there is a chance, all be it slim, that we might encounter something incredible reminded all of the divers to keep a look out for blow hole spouts, flutes, or anything that in anyway resembled a semi-truck in size gliding through the crystal blue waters that surrounded our vessel. We did as we were told but didn't see anything until Jim's keen eye spotted what he believed to be a whale spouting in the distance. He closed the gap somewhat, as humpbacks are endangered and then we saw her. The mother cow surfaced and I couldn't believe the beauty and elegance of what I was witnessing and then her smaller calf surfaced. The two came nearer to our boat and then were directly in front of the bow as they took their deep breath to dive for close to six minutes at a time before they would resurface for the baby calf to take another breath. 

This was the only day I took my Nikon D300 on the boat. I don't ordinarily take it on a boat for obvious reasons... salt water, wetsuits, ocean, tanks, gear, did I mention water.... needless to say I love my Nikon and I didn't want it to get wet. So I wrapped it in a huge clean towel, rather than my Nikon gear, threw a couple of extra lenses (wrapped in their own towels), and put it all in our somewhat waterproof AKona backpack to put in the forward compartment of the boat. I'm so glad I had it. I'm also happy the whales appreciated being photographed. I have a ton of pictures but here are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them too.

1 comment:

drdsdds said...

I was there, and it was surreal.