Humpback whales return to Kona waters
Just offshore by Royal Kona Resort, guests aboard the Artemis with Hawaiian Adventures Kona caught a glimpse of a young humpback whale on Tuesday.
“From the first time we saw it, we knew exactly what it was with the classic large blow hole and small dorsal fin,” said Capt. Andrew Aggergaard this morning, adding it wasn’t very social.
The whale, in about 70 feet of water, initially spotted by one of the 24 guests, was moving north along the shoreline. Aggergaard said it took a few breaths before diving down for about 10-15 minutes. The animal was smaller in size, and likely not a full-grown adult yet.
Humpback whales are seen starting in early to mid-November as they migrate back to Hawai‘i waters every year for feeding and to breed.
“It reminds people that winter is coming back around,” Aggergaard said, adding the sighting Tuesday wasn’t one they expected.
The best time of year to see humpback whales in Hawaii is mid-Dec through mid-March. However, Aggergaard did see a humpback in July.
He was just south of Keauhou Bay when his 40 guests and crew on a 45-foot catamaran spotted the majestic sea creature who was traveling north.
“It’s an incredibly rare sighting,” Aggergaard said at the time. “It’s really hard to say why this whale is here over the summer.”
The humpback whales usually leave their Hawaiian mating and breeding grounds by April, with a few stragglers a little longer, to migrate north to Alaska and other summer feeding grounds.
Along with humpbacks, Hawai‘i’s waters are home to a variety of whale species year-round, including short-fin pilot whales and false killer whales.