VIDEO: Rare interaction between pilot whales and young humpback off Kona coast
A juvenile humpback and a group of pilot whales were seen socializing together offshore from Keāhole Point earlier this week.
Guests aboard a vessel with the touring company Hawaiian Adventures Kona watched the wildlife encounter on Tuesday during the morning whale watch tour.
“With word of pilot whales in the area, we tried our luck and headed offshore into the blue,” the touring company said in a press release Wednesday. “After passing some incredibly active bait balls and sea birds we noticed splashing and spouts up ahead. The spouts were clear indications of whales, but we were admittedly confused about which species we were seeing until we got closer.”
As Capt. Andrew arrived in the area, guests not only saw a group of short-finned pilot whales, but a juvenile humpback interacting with the pod.
When they first observed the interaction of the animals, the tour company said, there there appeared to be two male pilot whales with the humpback.
“As the encounter continued, more and more pilot whales gradually materialized joining in on the action,” the release stated. “This kind of multi-species socialization, especially between a toothed whale and a baleen whale, is rare to witness.”
Passengers and crew watched both species exhibit socializing behaviors with pec slapping, rolling, trumpeting, peduncle throwing and consistent surface activity from the humpback.
“At one point, we could hear the humpback’s vocalizations from the boat without our hydrophone in the water,” the touring company stated. “We knew if we could hear it at the surface, it would be even better with the hydrophone active, and we were not disappointed.”
The crew and guests listened as the hydrophone picked up both the echolocation and whistles of the pilot whales and vocals of the humpback. “It was mind blowing. A total sensory experience!”
We’ve included photos taken by Naturalist Samantha Murphy