My first close
It was magnificent. Before I realized what I was doing my hands came together to applaud. It was just so awesome! The show went on for another 15 minutes with her calf joining in, then up went the tail flukes and she was gone. I got into scuba diving a few months later and got to see many more awe inspiring displays by these great and gentle giants.
In Hawaii humpbacks can be sited in shallow coastal water, usually less than 300 ft. As the islands are actually enormous undersea mountains (the Big Island from the sea floor is around 30,000 feet), the land drops off rather dramatically which means at times you get to observe them quite close to shore.
The only story I ever heard of aggressive behavior was that of a rather pushy photographer who got a bit of a "fluke slap" from a mother that didn't appreciate him getting so close to her baby. When he told me this story he pointed out that whales are very intelligent creatures and he felt she had purposefully gone easy on him. It is actually illegal to approach them, but they have been known to rather fearlessly approach boats and occasionally snorkelers. I've seen several of them "frolic" around moored or drifting boats. It's quite a show.
The ocean around the Hawaiian Islands is one of the most important Pacific Humpback Whale habitats as it is the only place in the United States where Humpbacks reproduce. Humpbacks migrate from near the poles where they feed, to tropical and subtropical waters like Hawaii where they come every year between November and March for breeding, calving and nursing activities.
About 3,000 to 5,000 humpback whales migrate to the Hawaiian Islands every year. Sadly this is estimated to be two thirds of the entire North Pacific Humpback population. The attitude toward the humpbacks in Hawaii is one of respect and admiration. It is so sad to know that in other parts of the world they are still being murdered and maimed; and then there's pollution which is a world wide problem. Check out some of the links below for more information about marine life and our eco-system to see what we can all do to help solve these problems!
|Handcrafted Creations: Dolphin & Whale Boxes|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery I: People|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery II: Green Sea Turtles|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery II: More Sea Turtles|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery III: More Marine Life|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery IV: Sharks|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery V: Octopus|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery VI: Frogfish|
|Underwater Photo Gallery VII: Dolphins|
|Underwater Photo Gallery VIII: Humpback Whales|
|Earth Trust My Favorite!|
This is one of the most effective and innovative wildlife conservation organizations. Cost effective protection programs and a wealth of information including an online free marine biology study course and free internships.
Also see:"Mystery of the Silvery Rings"
|National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration|
Oceanic, Earth and Space Sciences; rescue and preservation technology; education & teachers resources. Extensive photo library, from space images to coastal shores: marine life from great whales to the smallest plankton.
|Protest Whaling in U.S. Water!|
Information, opinions & links opposing resumption of whaling in U.S. waters.