"" Writer's Wanderings: A Whale of a Time!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Whale of a Time!

Sitting on our lanai on the twelfth floor of the condo building we have quite a view of ocean between Maui and Molokai. The area is somewhat shallow (200-350 feet we're told) and is relatively calm. This is ideal for the whales who have come here to calve and to mate.

As I look out, I can see big splashes in the water where whales--mostly the males--are slapping thier tails on the surface, or splashing with their pectoral fins, or just plain jumping for joy--or, being male, attention. They are a little too far out today to capture with my camera but I have circular impressions around my eyes from pressing binoculars to them constantly.

Today we stopped at a lookout near McGregor's point where the Pacific Whale Foundation has a naturalist stationed to answer questions. I know that the whales weigh around 80,000 pounds and are between 40-45 feet long but I wanted to know how to translate that into language a young grandchild would understand. The naturalist accomodated me. "Think large yellow schoolbus. Every kid knows how big that is."

So now, imagine something the size of a large schoolbus having the power to lift 80,000 pounds of blubber out of the water. Now imagine the splash that makes! Each time a whale breaches, it's appropriate to yell, "hana ho!" meaning, "Do it again!"

Another naturalist aboard one of the whale watching boats told us they jump because they're happy. Makes me understand where the phrase "having a whale of a time" must come from.

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