Famed humpback whale named Moon encountered off Kona coast
The crew of Hawaiian Adventures Kona was on a wildlife scouting trip off the Big Island coast on Dec. 9 when they encountered famous humpback whale BCX1232, named “Moon.”
The mature female humpback whale has made headlines recently for her resilience in the face of insurmountable odds, completing a more than 4,000-mile migration with a severe spinal injury.
Hawaiian Adventures, in communication with a Cascadia Research Collective vessel, officially documented the sighting with photos of the encounter.
Moon was accompanied by a fellow mature humpback whale known by the scientific ID: PWF-NP_2761.
“The contrast in condition between these two whales is a gut-wrenching testament to just how severe Moon’s condition is,” Hawaiian Adventures’ Naturalist Samantha Murphy said. “She has a significant infestation of sea lice and appears to be severely emaciated.”
Hawaiian Adventures submitted photos from this encounter to Happywhale, a comprehensive database for marine mammal photo-identification fueled by such photo contributions.
Due to the whale watching and research communities, Moon was first documented in British Columbia in 2013 and potentially sustained an injury in 2020 as a result of a ship strike.
Moon’s condition and valiant migration to Hawaiʻi implores a significant message, the importance of being whale-aware on the water. Responsible whale watchers know: “If you see a blow, go slow”.
This means reducing speeds, parallel viewing and exercising caution and vigilance when in proximity of whales. Along these efforts, Hawaiian Adventures Kona has introduced the use of the Whale Warning Flag along the Kona Coast. Similar to a dive flag, it acts as a signal to boaters that whales are within proximity of a vessel.
Tools like the whale warning flag and the use of photo identification are helping to increase awareness and understanding of the whales we share these waters with.
As professional whale watchers, Hawaiian Adventures Kona hopes that further implementation of these tools and practices can help prevent future circumstances such as Moon’s.
For more information email info@hawaiianadventureskona or call at 808-339-3604.