Jan 12, 2013

Whale Ho!

It's humpback whale time in Maui and we're delighted to have choice seats for the show.  Our front yard is the Auau Channel which is considered one of the best spots in the world to watch the Kohola ~ the Hawaiian word for whale. During winter months this body of water ~ between Lanai, Molokai and West Maui ~ offers up all kinds of Megaptera novaeangliae behavior.  We've seen newborn calves guided along the surface by their mothers.  We've watched aggressive males battling for attention in competition pods. Mighty tail slaps, impressive breaches, 12 foot high spouts ... all this gets us very excited, even months into the season.  One of the unexpected delights of being this near whale activity is hearing their songs when snorkeling the reef out front.  I hold out hope that some day I'll be paddling along and have a whale come up right alongside.  That would be thrilling.

On the topic of on-the-water thrills: Yesterday I was out on my SUP, enjoying the downwind leg of a paddle up the shoreline, when I was startled by the splashes and flashes of a school of flying fish that began leaping out of the water along and behind me.  "Hmmmm...," I asked myself, "Self, why are those fish exiting the water in such a hurried fashion?  Could there be something chasing them?"  Afraid to look down and not wanting to be bait myself, I paddled like crazy in an attempt to get ahead of whatever toothy creature might have been scaring fish right out of the sea.  When telling this story to my nephews this morning, I was informed by the kid with ichthyological leanings that it was likely a barracuda or white-tipped reef shark that prompted the fish flight.  Yeah, thanks a lot, kid.

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Aloha!