Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jump, jive, and whale

I really did have every intention of posting more often during my vacation on Kauai, but a spotty wireless connection completely screwed up that plan; it was only when I walked myself and my laptop over to sit in front of the building whence the signal originated that I was able to stay online long enough to get the sunrise photos uploaded and posted. On the other hand, I did end up snapping close to 5000 pictures, so doing things this way means I got to spend more of my break relaxing instead of on a computer.

I took this particular set of photos the second day I was there while visiting one of my favorite spots, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Not only is it a gorgeous spot in and of itself, but the area plays host to a wide variety of seabirds, including Frigatebirds, Albatrosses, and Red-footed Boobies. It also provides a great vantage point from which to watch for Humpback whales, especially because during this time of the year they're not only migrating but the males are doing their best to prove their mettle to the females by engaging in behaviors such as fin-slapping, tail-slapping, and breaching. On this particular morning, one such Humpback put on quite a show for us observers, breaching several times. I took hundreds of photos, hoping for the best but having no idea what I'd end up with, given the distance involved and all—with the naked eye, the whale looked about the same size as a pencil eraser:

However, when I took a look at the downloaded images, I discovered I'd captured a lot more detail than I realized; believe it or not, this is the same picture as above, just cropped in to focus on the whale:

That image leads off my favorite of all the sequences I shot that day, for what I'm sure are obvious reasons. In the next pic, you can see that the Humpback has started to twist around as he makes his leap:

No, you are not seeing things—this animal, which averages 39-52 feet in length and weighs approximately 40 tons, had indeed launched himself almost completely clear of the water:

Even though he was sideways when he started, by the time he landed the whale was doing a belly flop:

Loved how you can see the plumes of displaced water curving away to either side:

Yeah, that was one mighty big splash:

Anyway. Just a little something to tide you over as I start to go through my vacation pictures.


  1. Gorgeous, Sara, and what luck that you caught the whole sequence.