As I mentioned in my earlier vacation post, M and I have tried to go whale watching in Hawaii before. A few years ago, when we were visiting Kauai, we took a boat ride up the Napali (sp?) coast. The goal was to see whales, but the weather was so rough that we ended up turning back after an hour of very rough seas. This time, on Maui, we set off under perfectly blue skies.
We left the little harbor on our 150 seat catamaran, and not two minutes later we saw a mother Humpback and her calf. They put in a little show for us as they splashed and blew right off the side of the boat. The naturalist on the boat told us about how the mother whales will often swim along with the baby balanced on their nose. This allows them to help the baby through the water, and keep it near the surface where it can take frequent breaths. We got several good looks at the "tiny" flippers and tail of the baby who weighed "only" about 3000 pounds.
Another few minutes of travel brought us to a point where another mother and baby could be seen. These two decided they could do better than the first pair, and they each breached three times. You should have heard the sounds coming from the people on our boat. Each huge splash brought on the classic ooo's and aah's of the crowd. I have to say the first big jump made me leap out of my seat. The nieces were absolutely floored.
It was the perfect trip. We saw dozens of whales, the scenery was incredible, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Just as we turned back for shore, three whales flipped their tails at us in a full dive. It seemed just like they were waving goodbye.