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Mar 29, 2016

A shopping center called 'Whaler's village' was very close to where we stayed in Maui. At its entrance was a very elegant, metal statue of a mother humpback whale and her baby. You might know(1) that the water right next to Maui is the one place where humpbacks breed. The ocean here is called the Au'au channel; it is, remarkably, only 300ft deep at the most. Its name in Hawaiian means 'to take a bath', and that makes sense because the channel forms a circular area, with 3 islands around it, so it is sheltered as well as warm and shallow. These conditions make it perfect for the humpback whales who migrate all the way from Alaska where they have been feeding. They spend the winter here, mate or give birth, feed their babies, and then make the 3,500 mile journey back to Alaska. A very special event for anyone who happens to be(2) on Maui between November and April is the breaching of the whales which is their jumping. The mothers teach their babies how to do this. With one flip of their massive tails, they fly out of the water upright, and crash back down with a huge splash. My family and I went out on a boat especially to see this performance. We were very lucky, because about 20 minutes into our trip, the owner of the boat spotted a mother and her baby playing. All the people on the boat were saying, "Oooh!" and "Ah!" and clicking their cameras. The mother only jumped a couple of times; that's usually all they do. The baby, however, was in a very playful mood, and jumped and jumped until he got tired. He then made a circle above his mother and disappeared. The boat owner told us that this is a sign the babies make when they are hungry for milk. Once he was busy feeding, we moved on(3) to another part of the Au'au channel to find more whales. The baby whales get strong quickly; they are 10 to 15 ft long when they are born, weighing 1 ton, and drink 200 to 600 litres of fat-rich milk per day. They generally end up being 40-60 ft adults who weigh 44 tons or more. As you can imagine, it was both surprising and dramatic to see these huge creatures playing around. It's not every day that you witness such an event.

1. 'You might know (that)/ you might already know that' is a useful phrase that helps to engage your listener.

a. You might know that the first explorers from Europe who discovered America were the Vikings.

b. The presidential race is continuing; you might already know that Rubio is out.

2. '(A person) happens to be.../ you happen to be' is another  idiomatic phrase that is common.

a. I happened to be in the right place at the right time to see the lunar eclipse.

b. So Michael, can you explain how your hand happened to be in the cookie jar when I walked into the kitchen?

3. 'To move on' means to continue on your way, or to finish doing something and to start doing something else.

a. We finished our paintings, and then moved on to our sculptures.

b. Ok, can we stop arguing and move on to the next subject?

c. We lost our house in an earthquake. We wanted to rebuild, but we decided to move on and find somewhere else to live.