Hawaii Whale Watch - Whale Watching Tours on All the Islands
Hawaii whale watching tours run from December through May and are very popular. There are many choices. View your options here at Tom Barefoot's Tours.
Hawaii Whale Watching Tours are the Big Winter Event!
The Hawaii whale watching season is the most anticipated time of year regarding activities in the islands. Whale watching is available for visitors to enjoy between December and May. Usually the very first of the Humpback Whales to visit will first appear sometime in November followed by a couple more sightings as days pass but the bulk of the whales will not arrive until the Hawaii whale season is in full swing between Dec 15th and May 15th. The peak months for a Hawaii whale watch would be in February and March and in some places in the waters off Hawaii it is simply impossible not to see them during these times.
The Humpback Whale population which visits Hawaii makes the long migration all the way from the coasts of Alaska and northern Canada and this round-trip trek is about 4000 miles in total. Amazingly the Hawaii whales seen on our whale watches don't eat the entire time they are away from their home shores to the north but instead rely upon stored energy from all their feeding in the summer and fall months. This whale population is considered endangered as it once numbered in excess of one-million individuals worldwide but was decimated by the whaling activities in the 1800's and 1900's to near extinction levels. Today the Humpback Whale population worldwide is estimated to be between 40,000 and 70,000 and it is estimated that the number of whales that come to visit Hawaiian waters during the Hawaii whale watching season is about 10,000. Though nowhere near their original pre-whaling populations, the Humpback whale, which is found throughout the globe has fought back from a mere number of perhaps only 1500 individuals at its lowest point.
Hawaiian Waters are a 'Whale Friendly" Sanctuary for the Humpback Whales
Hawaii nowadays is "whale friendly" and in fact portions of the waters surrounding Hawaii are considered to be a whale sanctuary area. Not only are these Hawaii whales not killed anymore but every attempt is made to not even bother them. The Hawaii whale watch industry is enormous as everyone wants to get a close glimpse of a giant Hawaii whale but every precaution is made to avoid collisions with them and to let them have their own space. All boats in Hawaiian waters are required to stay a minimum of 100 yards away from Hawaii whales during the Hawaii whale season so the numerous pods can roam freely in these waters. This does not mean that you will not get closer to the whales than this as they often come right up alongside of the whale watch boats and even at times submerge underneath them but they do so totally on their own volition.
The Humpback whale during whale watching season can be found along the coastlines of any of the islands but the largest portions of the visiting populations will be found in the marine sanctuary of the shallow waters found between the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokai. The whales can be seen at this time seemingly enjoying the calm waters as they swim back and forth day after day. The main reason the whales come to Hawaii during this time of year is to mate and to calve. Quite frequently you will be able to see the little babies that have just been born swimming alongside their mother and these calves will grow at an amazing rate of about 100 lbs a day as they make good use of the rich and nutritious milk provided by the mother. The mothers on the other hand lose a similar amount of weight each day which they don't begin to replace until they get back to their home waters in the northern Pacific.
Mating is the other activity practiced in these waters at this time and courtship rituals are well established. Various whales can often be seen traveling together in pods and often male whales can become extremely aggressive toward one another when mating is on their mind. Although it is not clearly understood why the whales jump out of the water in huge leaps or breaches it is thought that at least at times this may be a way of expressing dominance and show physical prowess during the courtship process. The whale breaching is not limited for this purpose alone as it is known that all the whales do so and at a variety of times and under all sorts of circumstances. These moments caught on film by visitors on one of the whale watch cruises are a coveted trophy and by year's end the astounding number of amazing photos of breaches is truly remarkable.
Hawaii Whale Watching Tours Can Be Found On All Islands
All of the islands will offer a Hawaii whale watch to the visitors in the winter months and they depart from numerous locations and on various types of vessels. Many of the whale watch tours in Hawaii are strictly whale watching and others will include generous amounts of whale watching with other activities such as snorkeling, sailing and even dinner and sunset cruises. On Oahu the principle locations from which to depart on the many whale watches would be out of Honolulu, Ko Olina, Waianae, Haleiwa and Kaneohe. On Kauai whale watch tours primarily would depart from Port Allen and sometimes Hanalei. Maui's most important whale watch departure spots are Lahaina and Maalaea Harbors and also Kaanapali and the Kihei boat ramp. On the Big Island the harbors along the leeward Kona Coastline are where you will find the whale watch departures.
Your choice of boats from which to see the whales can be very different and will depend to a large degree upon your personal taste. Most people seem to gravitate toward the larger and more stable vessels that take many people at a time out to view the Hawaii whale population. These tours are usually no more than two hours in length and the vessels that have a second deck providing a higher vantage point for viewing make the sighting of the whales all that more clear. For the more adventurous the smaller, faster, and more maneuverable hard-hulled rafts may be better choice because they can navigate towards the pods of whales much more quickly and potentially see more whales over the course of a tour. The fact that these smaller versions of the whale watch vessels are more intimate also makes the verbal interaction between the clients and boat captain more fluid and you can more easily have your individual questions answered. There really is not a 'best whale watching in Hawaii' boat for your whale watch outing. They are all good, they will all see whales and the type of boat you feel more comfortable on should you the one you should choose.
Unlike other locations in Hawaii, the Big Island of Hawaii is not only the seasonal home for the famous Humpback whales but is also home year round to a selection of Sperm whales, Pilot whales, Pygmy Killer whales, the Melon Headed whales and the rare Beaked whales.
The months of December through May are a wonderful time to visit Kauai because the whales are here. These magnificent creatures spend their Winters in the waters off Kauai to breed and to bare their young. Many whale watching tour boats ply the waters off the coast to view these "gentle giants" and these whale watch tours are often the highlight tour of all of the activities taken on Kauai.
Narration and interpretation of whale movements are provided on Maui whale watching boats. You'll find yourself wanting to know more about these fascinating creatures. Remember that these tours operate between December 15th and May 15th. The very best months of the year to see them are late January through early April when they are on Maui in full force.
The whale watching season is usually under way by the 15th of December and usually lasts through Easter. The best way to observe humpback whales, is by taking one of the many whale watching tours on one of a variety of whale watch boats off the coast of Oahu. Pick-up and return are generally provided from your Waikiki hotel. Whale watch tours usually last about 2 hours which is plenty of time to visit these gentle humpback whales. Almost all whale watching tours will include whale naturalists to
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