Mike Oster ’04: Dispatches from Hawaii Part 2

mike-oster-04-photo-for-entry-2Aloha again from Maui! The weather in the middle of the Pacific has been very interesting during the past few weeks. This is one of the worst winters in a long time, making our trips on the open water very challenging.

Sustained winds of around 40 mph over consecutive days sent waves over the bow of our boat, soaking our passengers. We also had a south swell build out of nowhere last week, causing 10- to 20-foot waves to break along our shores. The surfers loved it, but we had to cancel many of our boat trips to ensure the safety and comfort of our passengers.
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Recently, the weather cleared, at least for a few days, and the whales have been excellent. Even though we are beyond the peak of whale season, there are still many whales just off our South Maui shores.

A few days ago, we encountered a “competition pod” of humpbacks, which consisted of multiple male whales chasing a single female. The most I have ever seen in a pod like this has been between 10 and 12 whales. But this group contained closer to 20 animals. It was incredible! They were cruising at about 5 mph and participating in aggressive behaviors such as head lunges, bubble blasts and tail slaps. I’d never seen anything like it.

I will keep you posted on other exciting things we encounter as whale season begins to wind down. A Hui Ho

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