March 4, 2012 7:30 AM HST
What is about whales? Is it just their size? Their grace?
Yesterday we went out on Ma’alaea Bay in my host, Chuck’s, fishing boat. He’s a commercial fisherman and his eyes picked out every blow. Seen from afar, they are tantalizing little spots on the water, but up close, one cannot help but feel a profound sense of awe.
A mother and calf appeared 100 yards from the boat and we watched them roll through the gentle waves, blowing and occasionally showing their flukes as they dove. We were hoping to see one of them breach, but that wasn’t to be. Just seeing these majestic creatures, much bigger than the boat, was enough. Later we saw a pair of adults. They moved almost in unison, undulating slowly through the sea. In the far distance an adult breached twice.
As a tourist, I often find myself looking for the spectacular, the incident to talk about, “Yeah, I saw a huge Humpback breach right in front of the boat!” But the true joy in this outing for me was just drifting in the gentle swells, looking back at the two volcanic cones that form the island of Mau’i, feeling very small in the vastness of whales and the sea.