Davids’ Big Island Mauna Lani Real Estate

January 14, 2009

David’s Big Island Real Estate, Humpback Whales and other Musings

Filed under: General,Humpback Whales — David C. Swanson @ 6:14 pm

The Big Island is beloved for its dramatic natural beauty, diverse eco-climate and rich culture and history. Yet, it remains the least discovered of all the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors and residents usually have their special favorites that include—splendid sunsets falling into the glorious Pacific Ocean; the pristine beaches, both public and “hidden,” along the Kona Coast; ubiquitous rainbows; the enchanting and mysterious Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Mauna Kea’s Onizuka Visitor’s Center for some of the best stargazing in the world; viewing or hiking into the breathtaking valleys of Waipio, Waimanu and Pololu; the heavenly Hamakua Coast and sleepy Hilo town on the Windward side; swimming with wild spinner dolphins in Kealakekua Bay; the warm springs and black beaches of Puna; the historic City of Refuge (Pu`uhonua o Honaunau); and, the wide ranges and pastoral landscapes of Paniolo Country, just to name a few.

The humpback whales are at the top of my own “Appreciation List” for the Big Island. Whenever I am near the coastline during the months of their seasonal migration, my eyes are peeled for these colossal creatures. I never tire watching them blowing geysers and frolicking, flipping and splashing their tails with the utmost freedom and joy of expression. Communing with whales, even at a distance, is always a heartwarming experience because whales are intelligent beings with whom we share our very delicate and sacred planet. They often remind me to lighten up after an especially stressful day…oh yes, we have those in Paradise, too!

From October until May, the waters of Hawaii are visited by over 1000 humpback whales that have migrated to the warm waters of Hawaii from as far north as the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, as far east as Glacier Bay and as far south as the Farallon Islands off the coast of central California. These humpback whales come to the warm waters of Hawaii where they breed, calve and nurse their young.

This 3500-mile journey from their summer feeding areas takes between one and two months. It ensures that pregnant females and mothers with new-born calves spend the majority of their time in the relatively warm waters of Hawaii. Humpback calves are both conceived and born near the Hawaiian Islands. (The gestation period for the female is between 10-12 months.) http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/humpback-whale.html

What is a Humpback Whale?

The humpback whale is the fifth largest of the world’s great whales. In 1781, a German naturalist named Borowski gave it the scientific name of Megaptera novaeangliae, which means “Big-Winged New Englander,” referring to the size of the whale’s huge tail fins and the fact that it was once widely sighted off the coast of New England. The more common English name of “humpback” appears to come from the animal’s tendency to round its back when diving.

The humpback whale is grayish-black, blue-black to dark black in color, with pale to white undersides that can show black markings that are varied according to the individual whale. It is with these markings, and particularly those found on the tail, that individual whales can be identified and the population and migratory patterns recorded. 

A humpback whale also has flippers (or pectoral fins) which are located on each side of its body. These flippers are used to turn and steer. Whales are mammals, and these fins are actually modified forelimbs with a bone structure similar to that of the human hand and arm.  

When born, calves weigh an average of 3000 pounds and range from 10-16 feet in length. They can grow to between 40-52 feet in length, with the females being slightly larger than the males. A fully grown humpback weighs approximately one ton per foot, or about 84,000 to 90,000 pounds, on average. Researchers believe humpbacks live between 40-60 years: http://www.imagequest3d.com/photos/humpbackwhale/index.htm

Why should we as realtors need to know more about the humpbacks? Well, factual knowledge is what our clients want! Along with real property, we sell the Hawaiian lifestyle to our clients—the sizzle that goes with the steak! Our clients often want to learn about our eco-systems and the cultural history of the islands, and the whales are one very important symbol and a favorite fixture of our marine landscape.

Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information. Especially during this market correction when some of us have a bit more free time than usual, we owe it to ourselves to become “expert” guides to Big Island living. You might want to go out and take a tour yourself: http://www.gohawaii.com/big_island

For those interested in taking a whale watching cruise, check out: http://www.tombarefoot.com/hawaii/whales_bigi.html

For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surf is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud-rack; I can feel the spirit of its woody solitudes, I hear the splashing of the brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.
~Mark Twain, a Biography 

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