The Maui Holoholo Bookmobile – HOP to it

The Maui Holoholo Bookmobile – HOP to it

Maui is fortunate to have a bookmobile that reaches people who would otherwise have a difficult time visiting the library. We are also fortunate to have librarian Jessica Gleason running the program. In accepting the job as the bookmobile librarian, Gleason needed to give up one of the plum librarian jobs in the state, that as head librarian of the wonderful Kihei Library. But in her words, “… the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to manage a brand new bookmobile was too hard to pass up. I didn’t expect to get the job, but was very happy to be given the chance!”

Of course being a librarian, Gleason is an avid reader. One of her favorite books growing up was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. She recently finished My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, which she found inspirational, refreshing and hopeful.

Gleason, born and raised on Maui, is the mother of twin 3 ½ year olds and has lived here all her life.

To celebrate National Bookmobile Day, we shared an e-mail exchange with her about the bookmobile…

Good morning Jessica! Let’s start at the beginning. How long has the bookmobile been in service on Maui and how was it funded?
The bookmobile has been in service since September, 2016. The custom vehicle was purchased by the Maui Friends of the Library (MFOL) and gifted to the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS). MFOL also worked with HSPLS to lobby the legislature to fund a Bookmobile Librarian position (quite a feat!). There hadn’t been a Bookmobile Librarian in over 20 years (since the last librarian retired and the position was eliminated during another round of budget cuts).

Why does Maui need a bookmobile?
The mission of the bookmobile is to bring library services to people who encounter barriers (geographic, socio-economic, physical, even psychological) to traditional library service (visiting a bricks and mortar library). We serve: seniors who have difficulty finding transportation to libraries; inmates of the Maui Community Correctional Facility; preschools who have limited resources to visit libraries; public, private, and charter schools who either don’t have a functioning library or want to facilitate their students’ access to public library materials and services; and youth centers where children and young adults go after school. All of these populations may encounter challenges to visiting and using a public library and the outreach we do helps to educate the public about what public libraries offer, brings services to those who can’t or won’t visit a public library, and hopefully encourage all members of our community, keiki to kupuna, to take advantage of what the public library has to offer. We are ambassadors for the public library system.

How many communities do you visit? How many days a week are you on the road?
The bookmobile visits Haʻikū, Pukalani, Makawao, Pāʻia, Kahului, Wailuku, Paukūkalo, Napili, Lahaina, and Kīhei. We are on the road 4 days a week (sometimes 5 if we are making up missed visits due to holidays or special events). The majority of locations are preschools, followed by schools, and senior and low-income housing. We also visit community centers and youth centers as well as the correctional facility.

What are the additional challenges of working in a bookmobile vs. a standard library?
The frequent traveling is unexpectedly draining (and I’m just along for the ride). Our driver, Michael Tinker, and I do all the scheduling, checking items in and out, managing reserves, and shelving ourselves. Tinker also maintains the bookmobile and keeps it clean and safe for operation. I do the collection development, reference, and other managerial duties (much like a larger branch, but on a micro scale). Essentially, we run a small, mobile branch with just two people (and some added help from Wailuku staff with processing and mending library material). It is highly efficient considering our circulation statistics and cost of operation.

How is being a bookmobile librarian rewarding?
I am fortunate to be part of a long tradition of bookmobile service on Maui. The rewards are intangible and unmeasurable. The hugs and smiles from our youngest patrons; gifts of artwork from preschoolers; seeing a boy and his dad come aboard with a Lego replica of the bookmobile; and watching people light up when they see us drive by– these are all reasons I feel honored to be a Bookmobile Librarian. It truly is a privilege and I hope to ride with the Holoholo Bookmobile for many years to come!

Thanks again to Jessica Gleason for taking the time to meet with us. The Maui bookmobile’s schedule is available online on the official website.

Library cards are free for residents. Visitors can pay $10 for a three-month temporary card. With a library card, you have free access to wi-fi and computers and of course, all the books you can read. One perk for visitors is the ability to print out maps, directions and boarding passes for just 15 cents a page. And don’t forget, the libraries are stocked with Maui travel guides. No need to purchase a bulky guide, only to leave it in your room when you leave!

10 Fun Facts About Dolphins

10 Fun Facts About Dolphins

Spinner dolphin sightings are common on our Lanai snorkel tours. We’ll take you to areas off Lanai’s gorgeous coastline that dolphin pods tend to favor. These charismatic marine mammals are known throughout the world as some of the smartest and most playful creatures on Earth. In fact, there are a number of fascinating things about dolphins, and it seems like marine scientists are always discovering new surprising facts about them. How many of the following fun facts do you know?

1. Scientists have discovered that dolphins give themselves names, which are communicated through their own unique whistles in a way that other dolphins are proven to recognize.

2. The two halves of a dolphin’s brain take turns sleeping. This mean’s they’re only ever half asleep, and this helps keep them safe from predators, while also allowing them to breathe when necessary.

3. Another one of their dualistic qualities is their pair of stomachs. They have one for storing food, and another for digesting food.

4. Dolphins can dive to depths of up to 1,000 feet, usually in search of prey.

5. The duration of a dolphin’s pregnancy ranges from 9 to 17 months, depending on the species, and babies stay with their caring mothers for 3 to 8 years.

6. Their skin is extremely delicate, but even the deepest wounds heal with amazing speed, a quality that we humans would surely appreciate!

7. Highly social creatures, dolphins have been observed tending to the sick, old and injured members of their pods.

8. Their eyesight is powerful both in and out of the water, their sense of touch is well developed, and they can hear frequencies 10 times higher than adult humans can, but they lack any sense of smell.

9. After humans, dolphins have the largest brains in relation to their bodies.

10. While their average lifespan is estimated at around 17 years, some have been documented at 50 years of age!

One last fun fact is that some dolphins can swim up to 20 miles per hour, which is pretty impressive! Here in Hawaii, spinner dolphins give us quite a show with their signature corkscrew spinning in the air when they come shooting up out of the water. Spinners are small for dolphins, but what they lack in size, they make up for with big personalities! If you love dolphins, we hope you’ll join us aboard a Lanai snorkeling tour to see some in their natural Hawaiian habitat. If you have any questions, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Top 10 Maui Activities For Kids

Top 10 Maui Activities For Kids

There are so many things to do and see on Maui, visitors often try to fit it all into one vacation and find that they can’t. But with so many different activity options, it can be a challenge to thread through them to find out what’s suitable for kids of certain ages, and what isn’t. Some activities are best left to adults, while others are only suitable for older children. With that in mind, here is a list of our top 10 suggestions for things to do with your kids on a Maui vacation.

Molokini Snorkel tours – The number 1 way to discover Hawaii’s marine life with your children: joining them in their natural habitat! Molokini is home to calm, clear waters, and hundreds of marine life species; making for the perfect family snorkel experience. Book with us and enjoy one of Maui’s most memorable experiences with your family!

Submarine tours – These outings are safe and convenient for children of many ages, not to mention that they love these experiences. Especially if you have a child who isn’t big on getting in the water, at least not yet. These kinds of tours give kids a chance to view the underwater world without getting wet.

Magic shows – These performances inspire wonder in children, and that makes them a popular favorite. Magicians seem to do the impossible, and most kids get a real thrill out of seeing magicians do things they can’t explain. Either your children will be amazed, or hard at work trying to figure out how the tricks are done. Either way, this is a mentally stimulating option and a lot of fun.

Luaus – At these gatherings, your kids will have a big selection of food, so even if they’re on the finicky side, they’ll usually find something they like. More importantly, it’s the dazzling entertainment that children enjoy at luaus. They get to watch mesmerizing hula performances, and sometimes even fire dancers. Just don’t be surprised if they demand lessons!

Horseback Riding – There are a number of places that offer trail rides to guests on Maui, and all of them are accustomed to accommodating children. Check their specific age limits. Timid children can sometimes be apprehensive about horses, at least at first, but once they get used to the steady rhythm of movement, the ride becomes a fun and memorable experience. Not to mention the lure of the gorgeous Maui scenery.

Hiking tours – Older kids can have a lot of fun with hiking tours, and the spectrum is pretty broad in terms of strenuousness. Opt for easy hikes and experience Maui’s natural beauty with your children. This is also a great way to get your kids to spend their energy.

Zipline – This exhilarating activity is generally limited to children aged 10 and over. If your kids don’t have a fear of heights, this can be one of the most fun and exiting things they will ever do. How often do kids get to tell their friends about how they went zooming through the trees on Maui with the beautiful blue Pacific as the backdrop?

Sugar Cane Train Ride – Although the sugar cane industry has just come to an end, the Lahaina Sugar Cane Train is in operation, and waiting to whisk you and your kids off on a historic tour of West Maui. The sights are stunning for kids of all ages, but this activity tends to be the most popular among younger children.

Maui Ocean Center –  You won’t find a bigger collection of native Hawaiian marine species anywhere else in the world. Conveniently, you and your children get to view these fascinating creatures in all their colorful splendor without having to get into the water to look for them. Best of all, it’s suitable for young children too. Don’t miss the touch pools!

Surfing Lessons – Ideal for kids that fall into the middle or older age range, surfing lessons are taught by experienced instructors all over the island. They teach at beaches with mild conditions to ensure safety, and it’s worth keeping in mind that surf instructors are powerful swimmers. Choose based on reviews from other parents to ensure the best experience.

(Bonus!) Parasailing/Whale Watching – We’re combining these two activities because they’re mutually exclusive, depending on the time of year. From December to May, whale watching tours will be in operation. During the other half of the year when the humpbacks have migrated to their summer feeding grounds, parasailers can take to the skies once again. They can’t operate during whale season because of the risk of striking a whale. Seeing a 45-foot long whale in person tends to leave a lasting impression on children, and sometimes a lasting love of marine life. Sailing through the skies over the ocean off Maui’s shores also leaves a lasting impression, by providing your kids with a whole new perspective on the world, literally.

If you’re vacationing with family, Maui can be a wonderland for children and adults alike. Just don’t forget to treat yourself to a special experience too! If you have someone to babysit, or your kids are safely off on their own supervised adventure, maybe you can join us aboard a romantic Maui sunset dinner cruise / theater combo tour. Whatever is in store for you and your children, we hope you have an amazing time on the island! Mahalo!

Fun Facts About the Hawaiian Monk Seal

Fun Facts About the Hawaiian Monk Seal

Did you know there are only two native mammal species that can be found on land in Hawaii? They are the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal. When we homo sapiens found our way to the islands, we brought a whole host of other mammals, including rats, mice, pigs, mongoose, cats, dogs, horses, sheep, cows and many more. If you turned back the clock to the time before these changes, you’d see pristine stretches of smooth, undisturbed beach throughout Hawaii, and the only sunbathers were Hawaiian monk seals relaxing peacefully among the busy little sand crabs. In those days, there wasn’t so much as a mosquito to bother them. Humans brought those later, too.

Luckily for the Hawaiian monk seal, the major Hawaiian islands only comprise part of the enormous chain. Hundreds of smaller islands stretch to the northwest, and most of them are empty of humans and other mammals. Despite the changes that humans brought to their habitat, Hawaiian monk seals remain exclusive to our archipelago, and to the diminutive Johnston Atoll, a former U.S. military base several hundred miles to the southwest of Hawaii. When the Polynesians arrived in Hawaii, they named the Hawaiian monk seal “Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua”which means “the dog that runs in rough waters.” So what’s it like being a Hawaiian seal? Here are some fun facts about these shy but dynamic creatures.


  • Monk seals live for approximately 25 to 30 years.
  • There are about 1,100-1,200 monk seals in existence today.
  • Their top threats are entanglement, shark bites, climate change, disease and food scarcity.

Physical Traits

  • They average 7-7.5 feet long.
  • Unlike many other pinnipeds, the females are slightly longer than the males.
  • Their average weight is 375-450lbs, with females weighing slightly more than males.
  • Algae can sometimes grow in their fur, giving them a reddish or greenish appearance.


  • They can dive up to 1,500 feet, but their average depth is 200 feet.
  • Female monk seals mature at age 5, while it is unknown when males mature.
  • Monk seals have been found to give birth at any time of year, but birth rates are a bit higher in March and April.
  • Females nurse their young while fasting for a month, after which time they leave their pup to survive on its own.
  • Monk seals were named for their solitary behavior, and for the loose skin around their necks that look like cowls.


  • Monk seals eat from 5.8-12.9% of their own body mass in food per day.
  • Feeding on the ocean floor, they consume fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
  • Hawaiian monk seals have a relatively low metabolism compared to other marine mammals.


  • Scientists estimate that monk seals have lived in Hawaii for as long as 13 million years.
  • Their species is older than some of the Hawaiian islands themselves.
  • Scientists believe they are the oldest phocids, meaning “true seals,” on Earth.

Hawaiian monk seals are critically endangered, and one of only two remaining kinds of monk seals on Earth, along with the Mediterranean monk seal, whose population has fallen to just 600 individuals. There was once a Caribbean monk seal, but it is believed to be extinct since the 1950’s. This makes the survival of the Hawaiian monk seal especially important. To avoid harming these remarkable marine mammals, it’s important to keep the islands free from litter, and above all, to stay as far away from them as possible if you come across one lying on the beach. Monk seals are accustomed to solitude, and they like it that way. Females are known to permanently abandon their pups if disturbed by people. If you see a monk seal in Hawaii, report the sighting so the professionals can collect data and keep onlookers at a safe distance.

To report monk seal sightings:

Email or call your island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator.

  • Island of Hawaii: (808) 987-0765
  • Kauai: (808) 651-7668
  • Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372
  • Molokai: (808) 553-5555
  • Oahu: (808) 220-7802

If you join us aboard one of our Maui sunset cruises or Hawaii snorkeling tours, keep in mind that monk seal sightings are extremely rare but not impossible. You’re much more likely to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles, especially if you’re snorkeling with us. If you have any questions about the marine life you’ll encounter on our tours, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. We look forward to having you onboard with us! Mahalo!

7 Fun Facts About the Ocean

7 Fun Facts About the Ocean

Since the dawn of mankind, the ocean has held our fascination. Ancient tribes and civilizations like the Polynesians were master seafarers long before the engine and the GPS. To find their way, navigators relied on the stars, marine life, weather formations, and even the movement of the ocean’s surface itself. Now, we enjoy a multitude of tools developed with state-of-the-art technology to ensure a smooth passage to wherever our adventures take us, whether on a snorkeling cruise to Lanai or a Maui whale watch cruise off Lahaina’s breathtaking coastline. Yet, for many of us, the ocean maintains its mystique, while others take it for granted. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, the following facts may surprise you.

1. About 94 percent of life on Earth is aquatic. Imagine that all the non-aquatic species you’ve seen and heard of only comprise 6 percent of the life on this planet.

2. The ocean’s average depth is about 12,400 feet, and considering that light can only reach 330 feet in depth, just think about how much of the world’s life forms exist in constant darkness. These organisms have compensated for the darkness by developing senses other than sight, and some have even adapted to generate their own light.

3. Scientists believe that there are far more historical artifacts at the bottom of the ocean than there are in all the Earth’s museums combined. This says more about the human race than the ocean, revealing not only the power of nature, but the fierce determination of our ancestors, which led to the world existing as we know it today.

4. Most of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton, a collection of microscopic organisms living in the ocean and providing the foundation for the world’s ecosystem.

5. About 70 percent of the world’s surface is made up of ocean. Keeping this in mind, it’s no wonder Maui’s migratory humpback whales can reach up to 45 feet, especially considering the fact that the blue whale can reach around 80 feet! The ocean provides plenty of room for these gentle giants, and hopefully their food sources remain healthy enough to continue sustaining them.

6. Only about 5 percent of our oceans have been explored. The exciting thing to consider is how many more discoveries scientists will inevitably make in future explorations.

7. We humans sent men to the moon before we ever discovered the largest mountain range on Earth: the Mid-Oceanic Ridge. This remarkable underwater mountain range is more than 35,000 miles long and boasts peaks higher than those of the Alps.

Perhaps the most fascinating idea of them all is simply knowing that more ocean secrets will continue to be revealed over time for years into the future. How many years? We couldn’t possibly guess, but there are still so many unexplored places that are bound to reveal fascinating geological features, biological organisms, and possibly a host of more unusual surprises. In this modern age, our technology has given us the freedom to travel from one polar end of the Earth to the other, but the ocean’s depths are the next challenging frontier that awaits our ingenuity, and the curiosity that drives us.

Fun Facts About Maui

Fun Facts About Maui

Did you know that Maui has more miles of accessible beach than any other island in Hawaii? It’s true. Not only does Maui boast over 80 beaches spanning 30 miles, but they include white, black and the rare red sand beaches. That’s just one of the many interesting qualities that make Maui such a favorite among vacationers and residents, not to mention an amazing place for ocean tours. How many of the following facts did you already know? Read on to find out.

1. The Hawaiian alphabet includes just 13 letters. There are five vowels and only eight consonants. One of them is known as a glottal stop, or ‘okina in Hawaiian.

2. The road to Hana is 45 miles long, featuring no less than 59 bridges and more than 600 hairpin turns. Its lush jungles and countless cascading waterfalls have dazzled many a photographer, but those who get carsick are less appreciative.

3. Anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from Alaska each year. The 6,000-mile journey is one of the longest of any mammal. Hawaii is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. To see for yourself, book a Maui whale watch tour with us.

4. Lahaina was the original capital of Hawaii until 1850 when it changed to Honolulu. It’s a good thing, too, because the natural beauty is much more preserved here, and that is important to us, especially since we operate our Maui ocean tours out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor.

5. While Lahaina and Ka’anapali get around 10 inches of rain each year, Pu’u Kukui nearby in the West Maui Mountains gets around 365 inches per year.

6. Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano, standing at 10,023 feet from sea level. The Crater at the summit is 21 miles across, making it almost the size of Manhattan.

7. The Banyan Tree in Lahaina Town is 60 feet tall and spans an entire city block. Its sprawling canopy provides shade for the many gatherings that take place beneath it.

8. Maui has sixteen golf courses, some of which host professional tournaments.

9. Honokohau Falls plunges a total of 1,100 feet, making it one of the highest waterfalls in the world.

10. The tiny crescent island of Molokini off Maui’s South Shore is home to around 250 marine species, some of which you can see on our Molokini Snorkel Tour.

There’s nothing like experiencing the wonders of Maui yourself, and we hope that you will! If you need our assistance booking a Maui ocean cruise, you’ll find our contact information at the top of the page. Mahalo!

Five Animals to See on Maui

Five Animals to See on Maui

Maui’s unique biodiversity can enrich the vacation of any visitor who appreciates wildlife. The isolation and size of the Hawaiian islands made them an ecological hotspot for speciation ever since their formation, and despite the human impact influencing the populations of these animals, many can still be seen by those looking in the right places. Here are the top five animals you won’t want to miss seeing on your Maui vacation.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (Honu) – This beloved marine reptile is a favorite among visitors, residents and Native Hawaiians. The honu can be spotted at many popular snorkeling spots around Maui, and sightings are common on many of our boat tours. You’ll often find them grazing on algae and seaweed near coral reefs. It’s important to give these animals their space. Chasing, touching or trying to ride these animals will cause them stress and sometimes result in a painful bite. Just sit back, relax and enjoy watching them from a respectful distance.

Spinner Dolphin (Nai’a) – Spinners are common sightings off Maui’s shorelines, and they will sometimes pop up in large pods on our Molokini Snorkel and Lanai Snorkel Tours while traveling to or from our destinations. These are relatively little dolphins, named for their tendency to fly out of the water while spinning like a top. Sometimes they’ll put on a really great show. This is a sighting you won’t want to miss.

Nene Goose – Small groups of Nene can sometimes be seen at Haleakala National Park. With about 2,500 birds left, they are the rarest goose in the world, which definitely merits a sighting. Currently listed as a threatened species, keeping a respectful distance is important. While we’re on the topic of birds, you might just have enough luck to spot one of Maui’s rare honeycreepers at Hosmer’s Grove.

Humpback Whale (Kohola) – When humpbacks fill the waters off Maui’s shores, they’re quite hard to miss. You will often see spouts, breaches, spy-hopping and other acrobatic maneuvers right from shore. That’s why our Maui Whale Watch Tour is so exciting. There’s nothing quite like seeing these aerial displays up close from the vantage point of one of our decks. We hope you’ll take advantage of these sighting opportunities now while the whales are in our waters for their seasonal migration before returning to their summer feeding grounds.

Hawaiian Monk Seal (llio holo I ka uaua) – As far as Maui animal sightings go, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal is what you might call the unicorn of the group. Only 1,100 individuals are believed to exist, and it’s hard to know when or where they might show up because of their scarcity. That’s what makes these sightings so special. Since they sometimes lay out on the island’s beaches, great care is taken by officials to guard them, and when such a sighting is made, cones or other markers are laid out to indicate your allowable proximity, which an officer will enforce. That doesn’t mean you can’t snap some great photos with a good zoom feature.

We hope you’ll have the opportunity to see as many of these animals as possible during your Maui vacation. If you spot them while out on an ocean tour with us, then so much the better! We look forward to sharing that special experience with you. Mahalo!

HOP – Proud Sponsor of Whale Tales 2015

HOP – Proud Sponsor of Whale Tales 2015

We mentioned Whale Tales 2015 in our previous blog from January 1, 2015, but in this entry we’d like to discuss our involvement in it. If you’re not familiar with Whale Tales it is an annual event organized by Whale Trust Maui that took place on President’s Day weekend, starting on February 13th. Dr. Meagan Jones is one of the three co-founders of Whale Trust and also one of our Direct Research Recipients. We were ecstatic to be able to support one of our Direct Research Recipients in their endeavors, and be involved in one of the world’s foremost cetacean research and education events.

Our contribution to the event was a benefit whale watch with Flip Nicklin and friends which took place on February 15th and left from Lahaina Harbor. We are very pleased to share that the whale watch sold out! Not surprising when you consider what a special opportunity it was for any whale enthusiast to be able to share in the wealth of knowledge Flip has accrued over the course of his storied career. Flip is renowned worldwide for his amazing underwater photos and long history of working with National Geographic!

Although the whale watch with Flip was a special event, we hope that you’ll allow us to be a part of your next whale watching adventure! And for our friends from Japan we offer Japanese interpreters on our 9:45am, 12:00pm, and 2:15pm whale watches, if arranged in advance. If you’re interested in learning more about what our Direct Research Recipients have been up to, or what we’re doing here at the Hawaii Ocean Project, we hope that you’ll consider signing up for membership with us. Membership not only qualifies you for 25% off all of our excursions, but you’re also privy to our member’s only newsletter with news about our Direct Research Recipients and even interesting events (like Whale Tales!) that are coming up here on Maui! But most importantly, you can feel good about knowing 100% of proceeds go directly to the Direct Research Program.

Whale Tales 2015

Whale Tales 2015

In our last blog we discussed the majestic humpback whales.  This week we are going to discuss an organization that helps keep these endangered species safe while in the Hawaiian waters.  Whale Trust Maui is a non-profit organization committed to educating the public about marine life safety.

Whale Trust’s mission is to promote, support, and conduct scientific research on whales.  Their vision is to help create a world that is more knowledgeable about whales.  In February 2015, Whale Trust Maui is hosting a four-day event for Whale enthusiasts.  Whale Tales will take place Friday, February 13th until Monday the 16th.

Below is the tentative schedule of events to take place:

  •  Friday, February 13th, from 5pm to 7pm, is the opening reception at the Historic Pioneer Inn.
  •  Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm, various presentations will be held in The Maui Theatre.
  •  Monday, February 16th, all day, benefit whale watches are to depart from the Lahaina Harbor.

While this event is free of charge, donations are still needed in order to continue supporting whale research on Maui.  Hawaii Ocean Project is a proud sponsor of all that this organization does for marine life conservation.  If you are interested in sponsorship visit for more details.

If you have any further questions about this event or booking your next whale watch tour, contact Hawaii Ocean Project today!

Marine Life Fun Facts – Humpback Whale Communication

Marine Life Fun Facts – Humpback Whale Communication

By Captain Dave

As we mentioned in our previous “whale song” blog, Humpback Whales sing amazing songs while in our waters, seemingly using their internal orchestra to communicate with other whales in the area. While these songs are regarded as a form of communication, many wonder if they could also be considered a true form of language which only these magnificent mammals understand. Here is what we do know:

  • The ever evolving whale song has been found beyond our Hawaiian waters; including whales found migrating to place as far flung as Baja and Japan. This implies long distance communication between whales over thousands of miles.
  • The prevailing theory for this long distance sharing of song is the possibility of whales visiting Hawaiian waters passing the song on to others while visiting these far flung breeding grounds.
  • With the exception of these “passed down” songs, most whales will have a song unique to their population (i.e. Whales in the North Atlantic will sing a different tune than those here in Hawaii.)
  • While still theorized to be a form of communication for whales searching for a prospective mate, recent research has shown males generally approach other males mid-song.
  • Whale songs are also believed to imply territoriality, as singers will generally keep a distance of approximately 1/2 mile from other singers.

As research continues, we will update you with any new findings in this very important area of humpback whale behavior. Of course, if you would like to experience the sights and sounds of our wonderful guests for yourself, consider booking one of our Maui whale watch tours or sunset dinner cruises during whale season for a chance at observing the habits of these wonderful creatures in person!