Humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to their winter calving and mating grounds in Hawaii. The warm inshore waters surrounding these islands offer the young whales protection from predators as they build up enough body fat for their journey north. Males reach 43 feet (14 m) and females 45 feet (15 m) in lenghth and weigh 35 tons, on average. Males produce intricate "songs", only during the mating season, to attract females. Whale "songs" are composed of themes, which in turn, are composed of phrases. Humpback breaches are spectacular.
The head of a humpback whale is broad and rounded when viewed from above, but slim in profile. The body is not as streamlined as other rorquals, but is quite round, narrowing to a slender peduncle (tail stock). The top of the head and lower jaw have rounded, bump-like knobs, each containing at least one stiff hair. The purpose of these hairs is not known, though they may provide the whale with a sense of "touch." There are between 20-35 ventral grooves which extend slightly beyond the navel. The body is black on the dorsal (upper) side, and mottled black and white on the ventral (under) side. This color pattern extends to the fluke. When the humpback whale "sounds" (goes into a long or deep dive) it usually throws its fluke upward, exposing the black and white patterned underside. This pattern is distinctive to each whale. The flippers range from all white to all black.
About 2/3 back on the body is an irregularly shaped dorsal (top) fin. Its flippers are very long, between 1/4 and 1/3 the length of its body, and have large knobs on the leading edge. The fluke (tail), which can be 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, is serrated and pointed at the tips. Adult males measure 40-48 feet (12.2-14.6 m), adult females measure 45-50 feet (13.7-15.2 m). They weigh 25 to 40 tons (22,680-36,287 kg). Humpback whales feed on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans, and various kinds of small fish. Each whale eats up to 1 and 1/2 tons (1,361 kg) of food a day. As a baleen whale, it has a series of 270-400 fringed overlapping plates hanging from each side of the upper jaw, where teeth might otherwise be located. These plates consist of a fingernail-like material called keratin that frays out into fine hairs on the ends inside the mouth near the tongue. The plates are black and measure about 30 inches (76 cm) in length. During feeding, large volumes of water and food can be taken into the mouth because the pleated grooves in the throat expand. As the mouth closes water is expelled through the baleen plates, which trap the food on the inside near the tongue to be swallowed.
Humpback whales reach sexual maturity at 6-8 years of age or when males reach the length of 36 feet (11.6 m) and females are 40 feet (12 m). Each female typically bears a calf every 2-3 years and the gestation period is 12 months. A humpback whale calf is between 10-15 feet (3-4.5 m) long at birth, and weighs up to 1 ton (907 kg). It nurses frequently on the mother's rich milk, which has a 45% to 60% fat content. The calf is weaned to solid food when it is about a year old. Found in all the world's oceans, most populations of humpback whales follow a regular migration route, summering in temperate and polar waters for feeding, and wintering in tropical waters for mating and calving. At least 3 different species of barnacles are commonly found on both the flippers and the body of the humpback whale. It is also home for a species of whale lice, Cyamus boopis.
Humpback whales are active, acrobatic whales. They can throw themselves completely out of the water (breaching), and swim on their backs with both flippers in the air. They also engage in "tail lobbing" (raising their huge fluke out of the water and then slapping it on the surface) and "flipper slapping" (using their flippers to slap the water). It is possible that these behaviors are important in communication between humpbacks.
Perhaps the most interesting behavior of humpback whales is their "singing." Scientists have discovered that humpback whales sing long, complex "songs." Whales in the North American Atlantic population sing the same song, and all the whales in the North American Pacific population sing the same song but the songs of each of these populations and of those in other areas of the world are uniquely different. A typical song lasts from 10-20 minutes, is repeated continuously for hours at a time, and changes gradually from year to year. It appears that all the singing whales are males and that the songs may be a part of mating behavior. Because their feeding, mating, and calving grounds are close to shore and because they are slow swimmers, the humpback whales were an easy target for early whalers. Between 1905 and 1965, 28,000 humpback whales were killed. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) gave them worldwide protection status in 1966. It is believed they number about 15,000-20,000 at present, or about 15-20% of the original population.
Hawaii Fish Cards
Franko's O'ahu Reef Creatures Guide (fish card). Franko's fish cards are stiff, laminated plastic, with a hole for a lanyard. Take it snorkeling or scuba diving with you! Size of Fish Cards: 6" x 9"
Franko’s Oahu Reef Creatures Guide
Side 1 shows a mini-map of Oahu with a few of it’s best diving and snorkeling spots located, most notably Hanauma Bay. The map is a scaled-down version of Franko’s Map of Oahu, showing the island’s lovely shape and green mountains, and the beautiful surrounding Pacific Ocean. A humpback whale, spinner dolphin, and Hawaiian monk seal are depicted on the map. Oahu’s main towns, Pearl Harbor and it’s highways and freeways can be seen. Below the beautiful mini-map is a fabulous photo of Oahu’s most popular snorkeling destination, Hanauma Bay. There is nowhere else on earth that is snorkeled by so many. Just beyond the reef line, which can easily be seen in the photo, the snorkeling just gets better and better. There might be 2000 visitors at any time in the shallows, but out where it is 12 to 18 feet deep there will usually be no one else out there with you. Visibility might reach 80 feet or more. I just had to put it on the fish card to represent the truly fabulous underwater Oahu.
Side 2 shows the wonderful reef life of Oahu. Oahu has such great snorkeling and scuba diving that it must have it’s own quality fish card. This is it! This picture of Oahu’s fish is the result of personal inspiration, as Franko has snorkeled and scuba dived all around Oahu, and especially at Hanauma Bay. The fish card, which measure 6" x 9", is printed on plastic and then laminated so that it is stiff, shiny and waterproof. It has a hole for a lanyard, so you can actually take it diving or snorkeling. I’ve used a thick rubber ban
d as an effective lanyard for mine. The reef creatures depicted on these cards are taken from my own artwork on Franko’s Map of Oahu. The fish shown include over 80 species, including a dozen or so that are found nowhere else on earth. The Hawaiian fish shown are selected from about 435 species that exist in Hawaii, and are based on Franko’s personal exploration. The colors and the means of showing them are based on personal observation. The naming of the fish in Hawaiian as well as English is helped by the experts at the Maui Ocean Center, The Pacific Whale Foundation, Hanauma Bay rangers, The Waikiki Aquarium, and local knowledge. I love them all, but maybe my favorite is the Humuhumu Nukunuku Apua’a, Hawaii’s State Fish.
Franko’s Map of Oahu, The Gathering Place
Franko’s Map of Oahu, The Gathering Place
Side 1 shows Franko’s Map of Oahu, with a view of the whole island, it’s mountain ranges shown in beautiful green shaded relief, as well as it’s freeways and major roads, plus creeks, trails and things to see or places to go. Beyond the island, the ocean waters are shown in beautiful shades of tropical ocean blue, indicating ocean depth contours. All about the island there are descriptions of it’s fabulous scuba and snorkeling spots, famous surfing spots, and great places to visit. Favorite dive spots include Hanauma Bay, possibly the most snorkeled spot on earth, and also Magic Island right next to Waikiki, the wreck of the Y0-257, which is visited by the Atlantis tourist submarine right out of Waikiki, the M/V Mahi on Oahu’s west where eagle rays soar by, Turtles, where numerous green sea turtles can been seen on almost any day, U’lua Cave, or Black Rock, where white tip reef sharks guard a big cave, and many more. The North Shore not only features dive spots like Shark’s Cove, Snagles, Turtle Street and Hale’iwa Trench, but also great surfing spots like Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Chun’s Reef, Laniakea, and Hale’iwa. Follow Franko’s map to Laniakea and check out the old, 300-pound green sea turtles grazing on the algae right at the beach, or even resting on the beach there, as they have for thousands of years. The East Shore shows the map owner where to find the Polynesian Cultural Center (the PCC to the locals), the Mormon Hawaii Temple, which is probably the most beautiful edifice in the State of Hawaii, and Sandy Beach, famous for it’s body-whomping heavy shorebreak, which commonly ruins a few unwary tourists’ vacations, as they find out just how powerful the beautiful ocean can be. Around the map there is a collection of artwork of tropical fish, which are named in Hawaiian and English, and depicted in a reef environment with photos by Franko.
Side 2 shows Franko’s Map of Waikiki & Oahu South Shore Details. The entire South Shore from Honolulu to Makapu’u Head, Oahu’s easternmost point, is shown so that the viewer can get a close-up view of the island topography, including Diamond Head Crater. More things to do, places to visit, dive and diving sites are shown. The highlight of this side of the map is the superbly detailed map of Waikiki, which shows where everything is, including most of the hotels, Kapiolani Park, Ala Moana Beach Park, Waikiki Beach, the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the International Market Place, over 200 buildings, the DFS Galleria, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Ala Wai Harbor, Ala Wai Canal, Ala Wai Golf Course, and much more. Local well known surfing, snorkeling and diving spots are shown with descriptions as well. This map of Waikiki is the very best there is, except for the one that appears on Franko’s Map of Waikiki and Oahu with Things to See and Do. In depth topographical map of Oahu with detailed listing of beaches dive sites and the tropical fish in the area. Printed on waterproof tear-resistant paper. Measures 21 x 14 open 7 x 4.25 folded.