Good news! The first humpback whales of the season were recently spotted in Hawaiian waters off Kauai. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spotted a humpback whale while heading home from the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The second humpback was spotted a few days later.
Whale season technically runs from December to April, but humpback whales have come to Hawaii from Alaska as early as late August.
Maui is one of best whale watching areas in the world. The shallow waters that surround part of the island make for a protected resting spot away from predators and allow the whales to safely birth their calves. The south and west side of Maui is the prime location for you to set up camp, whether you’re viewing the whales from the beach or a boat. Whales also choose Maui for the same reason you do: the great warm weather!
Although you are not permitted to get closer than 100 yards to the whales, they are curious creatures and may come closer to you! Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii by the thousands. While there isn’t an exact number, estimates put the number at about 10,000.
While whale watching, look for some of these common surface behaviors:
Blow: You can usually see a spray of ocean water from adults every 10-15 minutes and calves every 3-5 minutes.
Spy Hop: When a whale raises its head above water, it is believed that they’re sneaking a peak of the horizon.
Tail Slap: This common site is possibly to warn other whales.
Pectoral Slap: The whale will slap one or both pectoral fins as a possible way to communicate.
Head Lunge: A common aggressive or territorial behavior between two males
Singing: If you listen carefully, you’ll hear whales singing. If you are swimming or snorkeling along the West Maui waters, you can hear the whale song while underwater from as far away as 20 miles. It’s a hauntingly beautiful sound.
If you’re interested in taking a whale watching cruise – and we enthusiastically encourage it – please see the concierge. It’s an unforgettable experience.