Whale’s Tale

whale breaching

whale breaching

Today we went whale watching, specifically for North Pacific Humpback Whales. It was a glorious display of breaching whales, possibly fifteen or so frisky creatures. It is breeding and birthing season for them at this time of year and one of the helpers at Pacific Whale Foundation mentioned the bay was filled with baby whales.

We saw one, but that was rather exhilarating. It’s mother never surfaced, but we were told she was just below her baby. Shown above, the baby is rolling, playing and enjoying the day.

Many of the whales are breaching, likely as a cleaning process to remove itchy barnacles. The speaker said it is unknown why whales breach.

It is surmised the whales come to the tropics to protect the newborn calves from the Orcas and sharks that would eat the youngsters. The whales return to their feeding grounds in the coastal waters of Alaska, mothers with newborn calves last to leave in May. Our boat was a research vessel with one of the crew recording scientific data. We were visiting at peak time for seeing whales.


A few of whale watchers got sick on the rough ocean swells, yet the boat crew was very accommodating. I was so thrilled being so close to the whales, yet we were to be one hundred yards away from them. If they swam to us, that was allowed. The researchers tag the whales to record data on a few members of the pod, following their travels. Maui has 75 percent of the whales that come to the Hawaiian Islands for winter.

We we were told that the whales are not feeding while in Hawaii and living off fat reserves. I found the trip both educational and fun.

The images were shot with my tiny P510. The D750 did not make the trip – too much sand, sea water and I just plain wanted a bit of freedom from carting around a heavy lens. Sure the photos would have been better and easier to get, but the trip was not all about my photos, it was about fun.

For more unusual critters that I shot with my AW100, see the Sea Turtles on Garden Walk Garden Talk. Those turtles are huge and very gentle.

This entry was posted in Nature, Photography, Photos, wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Whale’s Tale

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    Oh so very exciting. 🙂

  2. igardendaily says:

    Wonderful photos! I love whale watching in Maui! Thanks for sharing!

  3. And here I thought you got seasick. Looks amazing.

  4. Elisa says:

    oh i ma soooooooooo excited!!!
    my friend had to come to a hotel on maui to do work and didn’t go out to see the whales i wanted to ….him! I am now excited to see these! Kinda fixes things.

  5. aussiebirder says:

    I love photographing humpbacks! You have some great pics there Donna! As you can see it really needs a nice clear blue sky to catch the colour. This was the original reason I bought an SLR, to get the whale and not the after splash:-) Great pics, they will be passing by our coast on their way to the warmer north for our winter in a few months.

  6. Wow, lucky you – great time for your visit!

  7. Great pictures of the whales! You were lucky to get that close to them for those shots. Amazing!
    I could see that the waters looked a little rough. What a wonderful trip and experience!

  8. seattlecharlie says:

    Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking; love your whale photos. I did go to your link to see the sea turtles. They such interesting creatures.

  9. debibradford says:

    Boy, I would love to see those whales! I live on the east coast and finally saw one whale breach just offshore – a right whale. Not as large as these humpbacks but just as magnificent…especially if you’ve never seen a whale before! GREAT shots!

  10. lucindalines says:

    Oh thanks for sharing, that was fantastic.

  11. WOW Donna! Fabulous photos…I felt like I was there. Thanks on this 20 degree Virginia morning! Fantastic creatures in your midst.

  12. A.M.B. says:

    “Shown above, the baby is rolling, playing and enjoying the day.” I really like this description. This is exactly how babies (of all species!) should be. Great photos!

  13. Rose says:

    Oh, this is something I’ve always wanted to see! How exciting this must have been! Great photos.

  14. Donna I have always wanted to go on a whale watch but weather stopped us a couple of times on Cape Cod. But this is so interesting…and great shots with the P510…

  15. My Heartsong says:

    I love the photos -what a great experience to watch the whales!

  16. Lyle Krahn says:

    Wow. What a fantastic experience and phenomenal sights you captured! I have been told by others how rare it is. The few times I have seen whales, I was mesmerized but to see them breaching would be quite something. I’m so happy for you.

  17. Debra says:

    We used to be able to see whales out in the bay on Haida Gwaii. lovelovelove whales. Thanks for sharing these photos. Reminds me of home =)

  18. Girl Gone Expat says:

    The breaching pictures are wonderful, oh how I would love to experience it! When is the best time to see this in Maui?

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