Of course one of our Aloha Bucket List items is a whale watching cruise. This is the time of year they migrate south, so we took a 3 hour cruise to see what we could see. Now, my friends know that I have a (mild) case of cetaphobia. We saw Finding Nemo in theaters, on the front row, and I about came out of my skin at that scene **SPOILER** when the whale swallows Marlin and Dory. IT’S COMING RIGHT FOR US!! Even the stuffed whales or whale skelatons in museums get a wide berth.
However, there was no way I was missing a potentially awesome photog opportunity. And as far as adrenaline-rushing facing your fears goes, this was one small step for man. I, obviously, took Dramamine before we went. Good thing too, it was a breezy day and the ship was a-rockin’.
So, here’s how this goes down. You buy your ticket for the cruise, and we also got the lunch, which was another few dollars. It comes with a whale sighting “guarantee” – you get to see a whale, or you get to try again at a later date for free.
During the on-board orientation, they crew was emphasized that if a whale was seen within a reasonable distance (so many yards, I can’t remember) they’ll cut the propellers so the boat drifts and announce where everyone should run to to see the whale.
We figured, if we were getting a warning, we might as well go ahead and eat first and then hang out on deck the rest of the trip. While we were eating, they spotted “blow.” Which is weird even to type. But it was far enough away that they didn’t consider it worth stopping for, to investigate if any whale action followed it. So we finished eating and then went outside to hang out, hoping we hadn’t missed our only chance to see anything whale-related.
As it turned out, that was the only “official” notice of any whale activity the entire cruise. The remaining 2.5 hours, we were left completely to ourselves to enjoy the cruise, without seeing any whales.
Thankfully, I was with a couple of eagle-eye spotters, and they saw some frolicking whales (or one hyperactive whale) wayyyyyyyyyyyyy off in the distance. I couldn’t even see what they were pointing at with my naked eye. I chose my 55-200mm lens that morning just for such a situation. Cranked all the way out there, I was able to see the whale play and to get some pretty neat shots. (notice the dudes on kayaks, like, right behind the whale! I’d die!)
Well, of course, yes it is. But as far as we know, no one saw him but us. Because the cruise never acknowledged any whale sightings. And nobody else seemed to notice. But again, I couldn’t even see them except through the extreme zoom of my lens. I have no idea how SoldierMan saw it.
Since the cruise didn’t log any official sightings, we got passes for a free trip and second attempt. Which we are absolutely doing next month. That’s supposed to be deeper in the season with a higher proportion of sightings. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to report back here in a few weeks with even better pictures.