|Great crew of my last trip of the season|
|Kyle, Amanda, and Hannah|
As I listen to some of my favorite go-to slideshow songs from this season I can't help but reminisce on the amazing sights, wildlife, people, and events that shaped the 2016-17 Hawaii season aboard UnCruise's Safari Explorer.
|Green hills after all the rain on Maui|
The water stayed warm all winter, never falling below 77 degrees. It was a great year for turtles and whales as the sightings for both spiked way above last years numbers. Lana'i turned out to be a sure fire turtle spot for younger turtles, while the cleaning stations at mala pier and olowalu reef provided great sightings as well. I think every single group had turtle sightings this year, including one week in which we saw turtles on four different islands!
But over all it was a year for the whales. We had whales every week of the season, which is no easy task in early November! Once January rolled around then whale song filled the ears while underwater or listening in to a hydrophone.
We had ever encounter you can think of. We had muggings where the whales kept surfacing just next to the boat then swimming under to the other side. All the while the passengers and crew of the Safari Explorer were running back and forth across the deck to see them. We had tail slaps, pectoral slaps, and huge breaches. We had close encounters on the skiffs and even on a few kayak trips! One time we drifted over a singing humpback where we could all hear the song through the kayak!
And of course we had some amazing competition pods. We watched in awe as these 40 ton behemoths bashed into each other and jockeyed for position next to the female. But the fight of the year goes to one of the smallest competition groups. We watched two males fight over a female for more than an hour. Over and over they would surface practically ontop of each other, using their weight to hold the other down. The fight escalated into an all out brawl complete with an aerial collision. Bloody tubercles could be seen as they raced to keep up with the female. At one point the blow was tainted pink from one of the fighters. And there is no telling how long it lasted because they eventually raced off towards the off limits waters surrounding Kohoolawe Island.
Not to be forgotten were all the wonderful guests that put their trust in us to give them the trip of a lifetime. There are some real gems that are attracted to this style of cruising and it was a real pleasure being able to share these amazing islands and some of their secrets with them. I will take a lot of memories from this winter and add some more members into my boat family.