Marine life to watch for on our Maui Boat Tours

August 19, 2016

On a Maui Boat Tour with Hawaii Ocean Project, you will see a myriad of different marine life. Whether you are on a snorkeling tour, a whale watch tour, or even a dinner cruise, you may see some of Maui's unique residents and visitors alike. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and Humpback Whales are some of the usual crowd favorites, but you may get a chance to see a rarer marine mammal and another friend who likes to jump for joy!

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles
Green Sea Turtles can be found all over the world, but the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is genetically distinct from the other Green Sea Turtle populations. Meaning it can only be found in our waters! Their Hawaiian name is 'Honu'. A typical adult Green Sea Turtle is 4-5 feet long and weighs around 250 pounds. Their diet primarily consists of algae, which contributes to their green coloring as their shells are not actually the color green.  You will see these mellow creatures meandering around near shores and munching on algae. You may also see them basking and relaxing on the shores.

Hawaiian Spinner Nose Dolphins
When Hawaiian Spinner Nose Dolphins are born they will be about 2.5 feet long and will grow up to 5-6 feet long. A good way to differentiate between Spinner Nose Dolphins and other dolphins is the size of the dorsal fin, which will always be smaller than the Bottlenose or Pan-Tropical Spotted Dolphin. You may be wondering why they are called 'Spinner Nose Dolphins' and this is because of their acrobatic spinning they perform coming out of the water. They can spin up to SEVEN times! They are often seen swimming at the bow of the boats and this is because of the compression wave which forms. The dolphins love to 'surf' these waves just off of the bow. Dolphins travel in pods so where you spot one, there are more close by!

Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale
On one of our recent Maui Boat tours to Lanai, we were fortunate enough to be accompanied by a pod of dolphins as well as a pod false killer whales. Dolphin sightings are common on our trips to Lanai but we do not see the False Killer Whales as often! However, the two do interact and often travel together. The False Killer Whale is one of the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family. They prefer tropical and temperate waters like Hawaii's climate. The Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whales are genetically distinct and are endangered. Their name comes from their resemblance to the Killer Whale.  They can range in size from 15-foot females to 20-foot males and weigh up to 1,500 pounds! Their lifespan can exceed 60 years. Although not a usual sighting on our trips, it is amazing to see them when they do appear.

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whales are large baleen whales that can weigh up to 45 tons and be up to 52 feet long. They can perform surprising acrobatic movements in the air, much to our delight! Humpback Whales migrate to Hawaii each year during whale season which is between November and May. In Hawaii, they breed, nurse, and calf their young. An interesting fact about these gentle giants is that they do not eat the entire time they are in Hawaii. This is because the sustenance they rely on is not present to the degree they need in the waters around Maui. Whale watching is undoubtedly one of Maui's most popular activities. On a whale watch tour, you will get the chance to see the whales jump and slap, and you'll learn about their behaviors from our experienced crews.

Hawaii Ocean Project runs Maui Ocean Tours 6 days a week to the neighboring island of Lanai and the crater Molokini, where you will have the chance to see these incredible creatures in action! During whale season, we offer exhilarating Whale Watches as well.

For more information, check out our tours page and like us on Facebook!

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