Stepping out of your island “home away from home” and onto the white sands of the nearby beach, you enjoy the calming sound of waves gently crashing at your feet. The warm, ocean water at your toes and Hawaiian sunshine kissing your shoulders attract more than just the relaxation-seeking vacationer with mai tai in hand. Since the days of Old Hawaii, the Kohola (Humpback Whales) have been regular and beloved visitors of the island chain. Born in Hawaii, these gentle giants typically tend to frequent back to their birthplace and make the long journey to the islands in the month of December as the northern temperatures are dropping. Fortunately, we have had the incredible opportunity to welcome our majestic friends home a little early this year!
Spotted off West Maui near Kapalua on October 10th, two North Pacific humpback whales have come to spend the next few months here in the Hawaiian Islands. Many of us look to escape the icy chill of winter in the North to Maui’s coastal waters and the humpback whales are no different. The warm, subtropical climate of Hawaiian waters brings these beautiful mammals to breed as well as give birth. With neighboring islands nestled close to each other, the ocean waters of Maui County offer a safe “kiddie pool” for these whales to also raise their young calves without the threat of toothy predators like the orca.
The official season does not start until December and runs to around April, but this early sighting is an exciting sign that the whales have started their 4-6 week journey to their island home. During the peak of their time here, typically in January or February, you can probably catch a stunning display of frolicking whales right from the shore. But if you want to grab a sneak peek at the breaching and tail slaps, your best bet would be on the water! While any of Hawaii Ocean Project’s cruises offer the incredible opportunity to personally experience the Pacific humpbacks up close, our whale watching tour is centered on these magnificent marine giants. Reserve your spot today and get your cameras ready for 2 hours of once-in-a-lifetime views!