Happy new Year, we survived, although with not much sleep. Mum and I were in bed just after 9pm and I slept soundly till about 12 midnight. I remember waking up and the clock saying 12:00 and thinking Happy New Year. I then pretty much stayed awake until about 3.30am and then dozed on and off until wake up. Mum said she slept to about 1.30am. It was pretty rolly, up and down, side to side but when I spoke to the First Mate who takes the night shift he said there was only rough waters for about 1.5hrs. I guess his idea and my idea of rough waters are probably miles apart. At least we weren't sick and it doesn't sound like anyone else was either.
This morning we had a choice between going out ocean kayaking or skiff tour. Mum of course went out on the skiff while I went kayaking and teamed up with Julia. Funny story, the first night we were on the boat, Julia came up to mum and me and said 'weren't you on the Alaska trip with us". What a coincidence. I actually had her son transfer me a couple of his seal photos for one of my clients at the time.
Bit different getting on the kayaks here in Hawaii compared to Alaska where we did it up on the back deck. The kayaks stay in the water and we get onto them by sitting on the back swim step and swinging our legs into the kayak before swinging our bums into position. No problem getting wet here though, just a tad warmer water. We were out for about an hour in the kayaks, wind and current were quite strong so we didn't go as far as they sometimes do. Unfortunately not much for us to see, we were hoping a Humpback may pop up close by but not to be. However, when we got back to the boat, we could see the skiff quite close to a Humpback who was giving them a little action.
Whales here in Hawaii during winter are here for 2 things....mating and calving. They don't feed at all, they do that in Alaska during the summer time. What is also unique here is the singing they do when underwater. They don't do that in Alaska.
The skiff came back to the boat and then we went looking for more whales. Our expedition guides said what we were seeing was pod competition where the males fight over the single lady in the area (a bit like the Hawaii pub scene apparently) and the last man standing wins. Apparently underwater they were probably head butting and swinging their tails at each other.
After lunch, Bert and I were sitting out on the back deck talking about how few whales we had seen when there are meant to be a couple of thousand hanging around. I then mentioned how low the clouds were and it almost felt like you could reach up and touch it and I turned around to take a photo when we both saw this humpback launch itself out and do a breach and then another one. Now it wasn't as close as we would have liked but still very clear. Then another humpback popped up about 100m behind the boat so we notified one of the staff with a radio so they could inform the guests.
We headed up to the front of the boat when Dai Mar (one of our guides) lowered a hydrofone into the water so we could hear the whale song. Incredible to hear the signing. Apparently the whales are all singing the same song just different notes at different times. Very cool. During the afternoon we saw quite a few more breaches, but still off in the distance. We didn't have the close whale encounters we had when in Alaska unfortunately but still cool.
Later in the afternoon, the staff opened the back deck up for a pool party and use of the paddle boards. They also opened up the 'high jump' a gate they lowed on the 1st level up that you could jump off into the water below. Had to try it of course. Once was enough for me but plenty others did it a few times. Just lovely being in the water on a warm day and enjoying the beautiful temperature of the water...not bad for winter.
After a hot shower and dinner and a few glasses of Sangria, we were able to listen to a talk by Dai Mar about Humpback whales and how they have evolved, their behaviour, etc. I Very interesting. However, all this fresh air and saltwater makes you tired and you end up heading to bed around 9pm...not your typical cruise at all.