The first humpback whale sighting of the season is always reason to rejoice, auguring as it does the return of our beloved state marine mammal and the start of whale season in Maui.

This year’s first sighting occurred Oct. 20, off the coast of Lahaina in West Maui. Captain Dave of the Pacific Whale Foundation, aboard the Ocean Discovery, confirmed the sighting of a sub-adult humpback whale at 8:20 a.m.

In August, there were reports of an early appearance of a sickly humpback whale spotted in Maui waters well ahead of schedule. Officials said it was unclear whether the sighting was early or late, raising the possibility the whale may have lingered from the previous season and was finally spotted.

The first wave of humpbacks, usually juveniles, are generally spotted in October and followed by a convoy of increasingly older members. The whales, which migrate to Maui to give birth in our safe, shallow waters, remain in the area through May. Peak sightings occur in February and March.

As you know,Maui is one of best whale watching areas in the world. The south and west side is the prime location for you to setup camp, whether you’re viewing whales from the beach or a boat. Although you are not permitted to get closer than 100 yards to the whales, they are curious creatures and may come closer to you!

While whale watching, look for some of these common behaviors.

Blow: You can usually see a spray of ocean water from adults every 10-15 minutes and from calves every 3-5 minutes.

Spy Hop: When a whale raises its head above water, it is believed to be sneaking a peak of the horizon.

Tail Slap: A common behavior, it is possibly a warning to other whales.

Head Lunge: An aggressive or territorial behavior between two males.

Singing: If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the hauntingly beautiful sounds of whales singing. If you are swimming or snorkeling the West Maui waters, you can hear the whale song from as far away as 20 miles.

If you’re interested in taking a whale watching cruise – and we enthusiastically encourage you to do so – please see the concierge. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Sands of Kahana