Nothing quite like an 8:15 AM barroom brawl on the briny between blubbery bulls to bring out Mother Nature’s best.
On the final Tuesday in March, thanks to Teralani Sailing Adventures, I had the privilege to board the Teralani 5 for the Early Bird Whale Watch. Dang, it was early. We beach boarded the super-clean catamaran at 7:30 AM and, yes, our feet got wet and nobody flinched. It was balmy and slightly overcast on famed Kaanapali Beach but for the next two hours we had Pacific Humpback whales on our bacon-and-eggs radar.
After some brief safety instructions by crew member Nick we rolled out of the shallows and headed north. Within six minutes of smooth sailing we hit unexpected paydirt, a large pod (maybe 60?) of bottlenose dolphins at 11 o’clock (nautical-ese). These playful aquatic mammals seemed to be hootin’ and hollerin’ and enjoyin’ life as many of them swam extremely close to our port side. So close, in fact, that we could see their individual markings and colors. Phones out. Videos taken. Insta content. Bonus points for Captain Kevin for enabling this Jacques Cousteau moment.
As we continued north crew member Brady began passing out breakfast burritos and refreshments and then, between bites, the main entree was served. Spouts spotted at two o’clock. Lots of spouts. Then lots of side-by-side maneuvering and jockeying for position. Man-o-man, this was truly the ninth inning of whale-watching season but we hit the motherlode and a wooing battle royal was streaming live.
This group was feisty and loud, most likely several bulls brawling for a chance to attract the female for mating. Good luck, fellas. These dudes were enormous and on a bloodline mission before heading back to Alaska. Ring the bell. Somebody call Spielberg. We need a soundtrack and some chum.
The blue horizon was alive with slapping fins, flailing tails, and heavyweight ballet. We drifted close enough to see and hear a progression of powerful spouts. Maybe even a few grunts? Wrestlemania with waves. This ain’t Tinder. Who got the girl? We’ll never know.
The jog back to Kaanapali Beach was calm and insightful. We had just witnessed a real-life scrum capable of winning “Best Drama” on Hulu or Netflix. Sign me up. More dolphins swam in our wake as we shuttled past Black Rock Beach and the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Shoot – I was already worn out and it was only 9:25 AM. Whale done, Team Teralani.