After our less than impressive whale watch with Pacific Whale Foundation last year (can anyone say, way too many people?), I was determined to find a company that would be our perfect fit. Last fall, I spent an evening scouring Trip Advisor reviews and then decided a catamaran tour with Trilogy Excursions would be exactly what we were looking for–a smaller group (around 40 guests instead of 140), a more personalized experience, and most of all, the opportunity to see humpback whales.
Trilogy boards their passengers right from Ka’anapali Beach, and as we boarded the boat, I never dreamed that we would witness so much whale activity that day… Simply stated, it was magical.
Not long after we left Ka’anapali Beach, we came across our first whales of the day: a mother and her calf. Most of the time when you see the mothers and calves, there is little surface activity going on–you will see some spouts, maybe a few fins, and tails as they take a dive, but it’s pretty calm. It always seems as though you will see a breach or a significant amount of whale activity off in the distance and once your catamaran arrives at their location, they become shy and reserved. (Not cool whales, not cool!) 😉
About an hour into our two-hour tour we happened upon a group of whales competing for a female. This was my first time encountering such an experience, and as the catamaran stopped 100 yards away (as required by law), I could barely sit still because of my excitement!
Five full-grown adult males were in a battle of dominance in order to impress the female that had caught their eyes. Imagine five school bus sized whales–close to 50 feet long and weighing almost 100,000 pounds–headbutting, tail slapping, and breaching, to exert their dominance over the competing whales.
As you looked out across the water, you could see shadows darting under the smooth surface, and then, all of a sudden, you would hear the crushing blow of two adult whales as they headbutted each other, catapulting massive amounts of water into the air around them.
While we experienced quite the show at the surface, the competition continued underwater as well. It would be quiet for a few moments, and then without warning, whales would burst completely out of the calm surface and come crashing down, slamming their heads down on their competitor.
At times, you could even see the whales moving over another whale coming up for air (a bully move, according to Emily our whale expert).
Luckily for the whales (and for us, since I’m a softie when it comes to animals), this competition is not a battle to the death, it is only a battle to win dominance and to earn some quality time with the female.
The activity we witnessed that day was beyond our wildest dreams. It’s not every day that you are treated to such a breathtaking show, and for a two-hour tour we paid $44 each. It goes without saying, but it was worth every penny.
I’ll be back next year Trilogy, and I can hardly wait. Aloha!
Have you been whale watching?