Tour Sub Encounters Whales Off Maui
Includes video of encounter. They had windows, like the Seaview!!!
Written by Lisa Kubota - firstname.lastname@example.org
April 20, 2009 10:44 PM
A recent submarine tour off Maui turned into a rare whale watching adventure. The vessel was near the sunken Carthaginian ship off Lahaina when 5 to 8 humpbacks suddenly surrounded the submarine.
"If you could roll down one of the windows on the submarine, you could reach out and touch these guys," said Jim Walsh, general manager of Atlantis Adventures on Maui.
The males appeared to be vying for mating rights with a female hanging around the submarine. The stream of bubbles the males exhaled was a sign of competitive behavior, according to experts.
"The males get a little more desperate with fewer females around so there will be fewer competitive groups but they'll be stronger at the end of the season," explained Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
The submarine followed proper procedures by holding its position at a depth of 100 feet, according to company officials. The underwater encounter lasted about 45 minutes.
"We do have to be careful because one of the whales could have bumped into that submarine and could have done damage. It might not have been a threat display at all," said Lyman.
The tour usually features lots of colorful fish so to have the whales circling the submarine offered the ultimate adventure.
"They got an experience of a lifetime, truly an experience of a lifetime. I don't know that this one will ever be topped or matched," said Walsh.
The submarine was able to surface once the whales moved away. The passengers boarded boats to leave but then the whales returned. The group had to wait another 45 minutes before finally returning to shore.