We first spotted a cloud of mist--the “blow” that
results when the whale exhales at the ocean’s surface.
Then, we saw a dorsal fin, and finally its massive tail flapping
above the surface.
By law, cruise ships can’t approach within more than 100
yards of a whale, but we were lucky. The humpback came to us,
much closer than 100 yards as she swam gently around us, gracefully
turning and rolling, putting on a show for all the tourists.
Astonishing, exhilarating, bewildering—no word could really
capture our feelings of awe as we had our first encounter with
a humpback whale.
These mammals are so gigantic, yet so graceful. They are simply
amazing,” said Joel S. Warkentin, Jr., an MACOM student
who joined the whale-watching cruise, sponsored by the Graduate
Student Organization and the American Marketing Association at
Each winter, between 3,500 and 4,500 humpback whales migrate
to Hawai‘i from Alaska waters. While here, they mate, give
birth and raise their young.
Humpbacks can be spotted all around O’ahu, but the shores
off Diamond Head seem to attract them. We were rewarded with
a sighting within an hour of leaving Pier 8 at Aloha Tower. The
cruise is a 2.5 hour scenic and historical trip along Waikiki’s
Every year, from December through March, whale watching ranks
tops among Hawai‘i’s activities. Jose Cosials, graduate
advisor for GSO said: “The thrill of going on a whale watch
is the pure wonder for many students, especially for international
students who see them for the first time. Yes, you can see whales
on television, but when you encounter a real whale in its natural
habitat, living wild and free, that’s a moment you won’t
forget. I think it’s a good event that we should organize
Han Nee Chong
is the Executive VP of HPU’s Graduate