Daily life on Maui isn’t all rainbows and whales and sunshine. It’s more like every other day, really. Here on the Valley Isle, we are lucky enough to enjoy some of the best whale watching in the world, and we certainly don’t take it for granted.
The 5th largest whale species in the world, humpback whales have been migrating from Alaskan waters to the Hawaiian Islands since the ancient Polynesian era. Attracted by the warm, shallow water, Hawaii is the perfect breeding and birthing ground for members of the Central North Pacific Humpback Whale population.
Since the end of the whaling era, humpback whales have seen a steep increase in population. In 1966, researchers estimated the number of North Atlantic Humpback Whales at under 1,500; today, that number is approximately 21,000. Through continuous awareness and conservation efforts, in addition to protection under several acts, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora Treaty of 1973, we continue to see a rise in the population of whales throughout the world.
While on Maui, you can see these beautiful, magnificent creatures in many ways – via Maui whale watching boat tours, kayak tours, outrigger canoe tours, stand up paddleboarding tours, rafting tours, helicopter tours, and even while simply standing on shore. Keep an eye out for rising mist from their blowhole and huge splashes that result from a behavior called ‘breaching’.
During your tour, listen for the sound of whale songs, the most noteworthy characteristic of humpback whales, which are sung by males and can be heard from up to 12 miles away. Amazing!
February is Humpback Whale Month in the state of Hawaii and the height of whale season on Maui. This is truly a can’t miss opportunity while you’re here, so make sure to set some time aside to enjoy a day on the ocean with our beloved Maui kohola (whale) population!
The next time someone tells you that life isn’t all rainbows and whales and sunshine, suggest a trip to Maui.