Humpback Whales are most commonly identified by their tails. (The coloration of the ventral surface of their flukes.) The Whales have different patterns ranging from all white to all black. There are also scars that distinguish them from one to another. The tails are not the only way to distinguish them. They are the easiest and the only practical way to identify a large number of whales.
For Whale Researchers identifying individual whales is just a starting point. It enables them to monitor the movements and behavior of individual whales and of groups of whales (pods). It has been learned that whales move from pod to pod and other than mother and calf pairs that they have no long term associations with other whales.
Data Bases for whales are maintained and used in the estimation of whale populations. The latest numbers I have heard were for between 6,000 to 10,000 Humpback Whales visiting Hawaiian waters. That is a wide range because even though whales are very big they are in an even bigger ocean. They also spend a lot of time under water. There is still much that is not known about them. They are also estimated to be increasing in population by 5 to 7 percent per year.
These pictures were taken from Kauai waters of Humpback whales from the winter of 2005 - 2006. I tried to show the range of coloration and some with scars. The whales don't always raise their tails when diving too. In a pod the same whales will often never raise there tails while others will raise theirs the same way every time. Although they are unique they can also be very hard to differentiate.
I try to just concentrate on getting interesting pictures and enjoying the show.
I had read about the tsunami in the news this morning. I have lived here for many years and have gone through two tsunami warnings. I was a little disappointed to read about the tsunami that I had missed. I did go down to Nawiliwili to check on my boat and to see if anything had happened.
At 11:00 am when I arrived at Nawiliwili I was surprised to see that the tsunami was not over. The water was still coming in and going out with a period of about 10 min and a height of about two feet. There were many tales of excitement from the boaters who were around for the biggest waves. Fortunately this was a small tsunami and there was a lot of excitement and little destruction.
If you do not know a tsunami was formerly known as a tidal wave. Scientists did not like that name because they felt that it would be confused with the tides, which are waves with long periods. The tides are caused by the effects of the Moon and the Sun. They are very predictable and follow a repeating pattern. Tsunamis are also known as seismic sea waves. They are created by seismic events in the ocean. They are about as predictable as lottery numbers. Seismic sea wave is probably a little tough on the general public so they decided to call them a tsunami. This is Japanese for a tidal wave. It really means a harbor wave. They are the destructive waves that can destroy harbors. They do come in much like a tide but with much shorter periods. Today's was about 10 min. between crests.
The earthquake causing it was near the Kuril Islands North of Japan at 1:14 am HST. The largest waves hit Nawiliwili at about 8:35 am. There had been a Tsunami advisory but it had been canceled at about 5:30 am. It was canceled because small waves had been reported from Hokkaido (about a foot) and Alaska (about 8 inches).
The height of tsunami waves can vary greatly from place to place. With neighboring areas sometimes experiencing great differences in wave height. Sometimes distant areas will experience bigger waves than nearby areas. In 1960 there was a very strong earthquake off of Chile. Waves were estimated at about 80 feet at Chile. This set off many warnings in Hawaii which had several destructive tsunamis in its recent past. When this wave reached Tahiti it was reported to have only been a few feet. Many people hearing this went back to their homes in Hilo. When the waves did reach Hawaii they were up to 35 feet in Hilo many people were killed.
Have you ever seen an octopus. I'm guessing probably not. Even for people who are in the water a lot they can be hard to hind. They like to hide and are masters of camouflage.
This particular octopus got a tour of our boat. Most of the time it was in a bucket. We did have to take it out to bring it back down to the bottom where it belongs. If you just throw them back the fish can make a quick lunch of them.
I think that it might be a little happier crawling back into it's hole. They usually live in hole often coming out at night to feed. They are often out in the daytime too. In the day they don't go very far from hiding spots.
Besides fitting into almost any size hole imaginable. The octopus is able to change its color from reddish brown to white. Often it is a mottled color in between. They can also change their texture from bumpy in this picture to smooth as in the upper picture.
Why are they so secretive? I think that the main reason is that they have soft bodies and taste good.