Every year around this time I look out for my first sighting of a Humpback Whale, on their return to Hawaiian waters from Alaska to calf. That sighting is usually either a spout of water or a breaching whale. This year it was a water spout as I was driving home.
I find that there is something magical in having these gentle giants swimming in the waters around the islands, and I would guess that I am not the only one? Last year the family went out in a boat to whale watch. Laws prevent boats getting too close to the whales, as well as the speed that they travel. However, the whales themselves are not governed my such laws and there is no guarantee exactly if or when they will pop up near to the boat that you are on, or how close that encounter will be.
Last week I read on the local MauiNow news site this article (link includes video) about a whale spotted off the shores of Maui, named Moon, with blunt force injuries and learnt that the,
whale suffered from severe spinal trauma causing it to lose the ability to swim using its tail.
This article in today’s Guardian gives a bit more background to Moon’s story, Moon the humpback whale completes 5,000km journey – with a broken back, as well as of predicament of ocean traffic in the success story of rising whale populations. I found it a sad to read, not only because of the suffering that this gentle mammal is going through, but also how despite those injuries through her instinctual and learnt behaviours she still undertook the long journey back to these islands, a journey that must have been far from easy.
However long Moon has left, I hope that she can find some comfort in her time in these waters.