Using the funding we have received through National Geographic Society and our GoFundMe backers, we have been able to make it out on the water, and more importantly in the water with Humpback Whales.
As you can see, this has resulted in beautiful images captured by our lead photographer, Drew Sulock. These peaceful looking moments belay the amount of effort it takes to get into the water with these animals.
Whales have evolved to spend a solid 90% of their life below the surface of the ocean. This one fact allows much of their lives to be shrouded in mystery, hence the need for our project. We have found, and sat observing, whales that have simply dove into the depths and disappeared before we had chance to jump in and film them. We have also had fleeting encounters with some whales before they show off their skills, and out swim us.
Luckily, this is the sort of thing we saw coming. We knew there would be challenges to observing wild animals in a habitat we weren't built to live in. However, we picked our team partially based on their experience observing whale behaviors. As marine naturalists living in Hawai'i we have spent chunks of our lives spending twelve or more hours a day on the water watching humpback whales specifically. Those years spent simply observing are paying off now, by helping us hone in on which whales we can get in the water to film with, and more importantly which of those have a likelihood of being a pregnant female.
We will continue to come across challenges, and we will continue to overcome them. We are currently looking for underwater scooters to borrow for the season, should that kind of speed become necessary. We will continue to be out on the water diving, and filming. We look forward to sharing more of our footage, and finally the first footage of a humpback whale giving birth!