Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Whales for Days


It's Whale Season!

Our winter visitors, the Humpback Whales, are back in Hawaii.   It's that magical time of year when the whales swim 2,000+ miles from the chilly, food rich waters of Alaska to enjoy the warm Aloha of Hawaii for mating and calving.     Whale season runs from November through April.  It's peak season right now.   The guides call it whale soup or whale popcorn, because they are everywhere.   And it's awesome.

Getting a good picture of a whale is a combination of good luck and clicking at the right time.  
I suppose a lightening fast shutter or burst mode doesn't hurt either.

A lot of my whale pictures look like this...

A whale was there, I promise

I went on two different trips this past week.   I would highly recommend them both.     First, was the Discover Molokini snorkel trip from Trilogy Excursions.   You start the day with coffee and cinnamon rolls, cruise to Molokini, snorkel, eat lunch, bask in the sun, and sail back with mai tais.   This time of year, there is the added bonus of, you guessed it, whales.    I didn't take an underwater camera to Molokini, just wanting to soak in the moment, so you'll just have to imagine brightly colored fishes of all shapes and colors.  

I'll have a mai tai.   Maybe two.

A lovely morning for a photo safari
I also went on a Whale Photo Safari with the Pacific Whale Foundation.    This is a small group raft trip with serious photographers in mind.    My camera was probably the smallest on board.  I saw some of the pictures from the staff photographer on board - absolutely amazing.  You could see the baleen in the whale's mouth.    

Boats can only approach whales up to a certain distance, but if the whale chooses to swim closer, or, ahem, come right up behind the raft, that's just fine.   We lucked out with amazing whale action all morning including mother and baby whales and crazy competition pod action. Competition pods are groups of bachelors vying for the attention of a lovely lady whale.    There's a lot of breaching, fighting and fin slapping.   Must be how those bachelors show their worth.  

Baby whale learning how to breach
Well hello there friend

This makes three whale excursions so far this season, and I will probably go again.   It never gets old.

Have you been on a whale watch?    Where did you go?
Where's your favorite place to see animals in their natural habitat? 

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