The whale watching on the way to Lanai with Safari Boat Excursions was one of the best I have ever been on as far as whale activity goes. It was a Kona wind day in the middle of Maui's Winter season, it was very overcast as we departed the harbor the expressions on many of the other passengers faces looked worried. Sure enough we zipped across the channel to a spot in between the storms and clouds where most of the rain turned to rainbows. On the way out there we went by quite a bit of whales and the Captain did not even slow down the boat. I thought he was trying to hurry us through the trip at first but after I asked him why we were passing all of the whales he explained to me that what he was really trying to do is to find a "competition pod". The humpback whales come to Hawaii from Alaska to give birth and to breed. The 'playful' whale activity such as tail slaps and breeches are part of a complex mating ritual. The whales that are not here to mate are here to give birth, these mother whales are generally desirable and therefore less sought after by the male humpbacks which means less above surface activity. This is why the Captain bypassed most of the pods that we saw that had calves in them. About three quarters of the way across the channel towards the north end of Lanai came across a competition pod that was one of the most active I have ever seen. We witnessed an amazing acrobatic display, which included one of the male humpbacks repeatedly coming up right next to the boat. It got so close I dipped my camera under the water and you can make out the white of the whales pectoral fin as it swims next to the boat. After our whale encounter we continued all the way around the island, stopping many times to swim and snorkel. We even stopped to snorkel next to the shipwreck of a huge liberty ship. It was quite an experience!
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