(of) humpback whales & néné geese…:-)

Maui and Kauai are a hub and an official sanctuary for the Pacific humpback whales. They spend the winter here, bearing their young in the warm, shallow waters. Newborns are 3-4m long and weigh a svelte 1-2 tons. Adults may reach 14m in length, and weigh 30-40 tons. During the mating season, males produce a hauntingly beautiful “song” – a series of whistles, groans, creaks, screeches, that are supposed to help establish territory or attract females. Strict federal regulations forbid boats from moving too close, but these intelligent creatures may approach them to our joy. Tail markings are used to identify whales – they’re similar to human fingerprints. Watching them, I simply felt swept away by a tide back to an era where time did not exist since it has begun with mankind…

N.B. The fate of the largest animal on the planet has been in jeopardy for decades, like that of hundreds of other species. Days and hours pass by, but time, unfortunately, is not on their side. Their survival depends on us all: let’s save and let’s protect the endangered species!!! Read or reread the legendary novel “Moby Dick” (The White Whale) by Herman Melville and/or (re)watch the classic movie with Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab. Last but not least: @the “Pacific Whale Foundation”, everyone respectfully mentioned the famous French Commandant Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel who continues his papa’s work via “Ocean Futures Society”. 🙂

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Néné(nay-nay) or the Hawaiian endemic goose has been proclaimed the state bird in 1959; it looks like its Canadian “cousin”, but it’s smaller: 1,2 – 2,5 kg. The regal “néné” is kinda sweet and calm, it has a black face and crown and cream-colored cheeks. The neck is pale grayish, streaked with black and has a narrow dark ring at the base. The body plumage and folded wings are gray-brown with transverse barring. Its bill, legs and feet are black and the iris is dark brown. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but males typically are larger. They are found only in the Hawaiian Islands and are the only extant species of goose not occurring naturally in continental areas. I approached them in the crater of Haleakala, Maui and in Kilauea, Kauai – between 1,200 and 2,400m above sea level. Classified and protected as an endangered species, and just about 2000 are still living across the Hawaiian islands. These cute birds reminded me of “Nils Holgersson’s wonderful journey across Sweden”(by Selma Lagerlöf) with his wild and smart goose… 🙂

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Posted on 28 February 2015, in melanie. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Also read In the Heart of the Sea. The story of the whaling ship Essex that inspired Moby Dick. That the people of Nantucket completely destroyed the whale population of the Atlantic Ocean with sailing ships and harpoons is almost beyond belief…

  2. Totally agree with you Melanie. You are so lucky to have seen them in the wild! They are beautiful animals!

  3. Thank you, Melanie. The humpback is my favorite animal. 🙂

  4. Beautiful creatures, largest mammal on the face of the earth, and yet some countries still exploit their existence. Why cannot mankind just appreciate their beauty?

  5. How beautiful and awe inspiring. I saw my first whale breach in the Pacific last year. Even though it was at a distance it was still mesmerizing and exciting to see.

  6. Wonderful post Mélanie! You just can’t go wrong when you have la mer, Cousteau, Whales… 🙂

  7. What a thrill to be so close to such special creatures.

  8. La mulţi ani de Mărţişor! O primăvară minunată, cu sănătate şi numai bucurii! 🙂

  9. Your pix and descriptions take me back to the days when travelogues were popular and I would try to see as many as interested me (as yours do). Love the “Nene Crossing” sign!

    • you did guess well: nous sommes de grands voyageurs devant l’Éternel… 🙂 the “néné” geese are really sympathiques! 🙂 thanx and have an interesting week! 🙂

  10. Melanie, my dear friend it looks like you just had an amazing time!!! Love all the posts and pictures, and my dream is to see the whales up close, we must save them!!! Love ya my friend!!! xoxo

    • Before Hawaii, I’d seen whales and orcas in Iceland… I do hope you’ll go to Hawaii asap – between Dec thru April, so you’ll see these wonderful sea creatures… xoxoxo back! ❤

  11. let’s save them!!! pentru mine, whales sunt un minunat miracol al naturii si al vietatilor! putin cunoscuta si mai putin inteleasa – uriasul globului!!! elegante in maretia lor, victime ale noastre – omul care distruge cam tot! si eu le iubesc!!! si mi-a placut o gluma cu ele:”cine spune ca inotul slabeste?… – uitati-va la balene!”

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