There have been quite a few whale sightings around the island recently, some not far from Rumours. If you are not already aware, June-November is Humpback Whale Migration season for Rarotonga. The first sightings this year were at the end of May, and by the end of June there were daily sightings off Avarua and the west of the island. Most sightings have been in the mornings or evenings, but the 11am Reef Sub was lucky to get an amazing display from a male Humpback whale that sang, breached, and somersaulted for them for over an hour!
The best place on Rarotonga to spot humpback whales is along the north coast where the coral reef edge is closest to shore, and the most popular spots with good vantage viewing is Avarua Town and Black Rock on the north west coast.
It really is a spectacular sight to see these majestic creatures surfacing so close. Often you will see both mother and calf, and sometimes you may even see up to three whales surfacing together. The whales migrate from the cooler climate of Antarctica up to the warm tropical waters of the Cook Islands to give birth. They usually spend a few months here with their calves, before heading back down to the Antarctica summer.
Rarotongan resident whale expert (Whale biologist and researcher) Nan Hauser has just arrived back on the island. She will now take some ID shots from the whale breachings to identify the age and sex of the whales we are seeing.
The Whale Research Centre, located on the back road from Avarua Town, has information about the migration, news on recent sightings and a small collection of memorabilia. This is well worth a visit.