Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Short-finned Pilot Whale Silhouettes of Kona Coast of Hawaii

It was the last day of the year. I was out with my parrtner for a full day of boating excursion around Kona Coast. Although she wasn't a wildlife paparazzi like me, I wanted to show her something exciting - the best of Kona, the Hawaiian oceanic wildlife!

Soon after we went offshore for several miles, we found a pod of short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus. They seemed to be in a good "mellow" mood - logging and spyhopping, so we decided to go for swim with them.

Short-finned pilot whales belong to the family Deliphinidae - the oceanic dolphins, but their larger size gives them the common name, "whale". They are second largest dolphin species to killer whales or orca, Orcinus orca. The pilot whale can grow to 22 feet (6.7m) in length.

silhouette of short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus, Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Pacific Ocean

They are not known to attack other mammals to prey on like killer whales, but I consider them as dangerous animals. I've seen a short scary film footage of a pilot whale and a woman snorkeler in Kona Coast from Ripley's Believe It or Not series, in which a large pilot whale was pulling down the snorkeler's legs by grabbing it in its mouth. Fortunately the whale let the snorkeler go after dove down to about 50 feet, and the snorkeler survived.

Underwater the large 20 foot blackish muscular body looked very impressive, but at the same time, intimidating to get close as I leaned what they can do to a swimmer from that footage. I also knew that they had rows of sharp teeth and they could use them against me any time if they wanted to.

They seemed to be in a good mood today. I dove down and I was able to capture a silhouette shot of two whales resting on the surface against the bursting sun light.

Continuing to: Five Oceanic Whitetip Sharks of Kona Coast of Hawaii

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