The weather on Maui has been rough this winter. Between the wind and the rain, it feels like the Pacific Northwest. At least the temperatures remain warm and the Polar Vortex didn’t reach Hawaii!
Even though the temps are still nice, windy conditions can create adverse conditions on the water. If you’re scheduled for or want to go on a whale watch, though, there are some things you can do to make sure you still have a pleasant and amazing experience.
1.) Head out to sea on BIG boat. Yes, bigger is better for whale watches. Don’t even attempt to go out on a little rubber boat, often called skiffs. Being right on the ocean is a sure fire way to not only get wet, but you’re also likely to get sea sick and taking pictures, unless you have a waterproof camera, is definitely out. The other advantage of a large boat is you actually have room to walk around. The Hawaii Ocean Project boats have 300 seats and are certified to carry another 100 stand-up passengers, but we are limited to 149 passengers and rarely go out with more than 100 people. Because of this, you have plenty of elbow room and are almost always guaranteed a seat.
2.) If you find yourself booked on a whale watch that gets cancelled due to rough conditions or you’re worried about the smaller boat you’re booked on, Hawaii Ocean Project only uses full-length yachts, built to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Plus, the HOP boats have both upper deck and lower deck seating. If you want to experience the ocean splash and be on the same level as the whales, you can stand outside on the bottom deck. Or if you prefer to stay dry, you can go inside. From up top, you have full views of the ocean and will be able to spot whales from a much longer distance.
3.) Take a whale watch out of Lahaina rather than Maalaea. Maalaea Harbor is one of the windiest locations on Maui. The winds curve around the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala, funneling the wind right through the harbor. Lahaina Wharf, however, is actually shielded by the mountains, so you’re nearly guaranteed a smooth launch out of the harbor.
4.) To prepare your stomach for rough conditions, we wrote an entire article on ways to mitigate seasickness. But here a few quick tips if you don’t have time to read the entire article:
a. Take Dramamine or Bonine. They both have a tendency to cause drowsiness, but in our experience, they actually work.
b. Eat ginger and drink ginger ale. Ginger helps calm a queasy stomach.
c. Though we’ve never tried them, riders on our boats also say that motion sickness bands, worn around the wrist, are also helpful.
d. When onboard, keep your eyes on the horizon. As the boat rises and falls, keep your eyes on a steady location.
Don’t let windy/rainy conditions stop you from enjoying a whale watch. After all, the inclement weather doesn’t stop the whales from frolicking in our beautiful ocean!
Oh, one last tip, go out early, before the winds pick up. The Hawaii Ocean Project “Early Bird Special” at 7:30 AM is just $24.95! Book your Whale Watch now