POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 23, 2011
Dozens of Kauai residents and hotel guests had the rare opportunity to see a humpback whale and its calf swim into a cove in Poipu over the weekend.
A humpback whale described as about 60 feet long was spotted with its calf at Whalers Cove Resort on Puuholo Road at about 7:50 a.m. Saturday. The whale and its calf stayed in the cove for about two hours, approaching as close as 30 feet to the shoreline.
General manager Marianne Martin said it's believed to be the first time a humpback whale and its calf swam into the cove.
Some observers believed a birth occurred, but experts say the mother and its calf were likely resting in the cove.
"Scientists have never documented a birth in Hawaii waters," said Christine Brammer, spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Hotel guest Mikael Linder, who took a video of the whale, said he saw the duo as he was heading to the cove for possible sightings of marine life. Linder, who is visiting from Sweden, said he first spotted the calf. At first he thought it was a dolphin until he saw the calf's mother surface behind it moments later. "She looked like a big submarine," he said.
Guests spotted another adult whale swimming about 100 yards off the cove. David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that whale could have been a male escort. It is common for an escort to swim in close proximity to a female whale, or a female with her calf, he said.