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Hawaii Whale Watching - Big Island Boat Tours

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Whale Watching Tours on "The Big Island" of Hawaii

See All Activities See All Activities By Vendor Whale watching off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii is one of the most popular activities on the Big Island.

There are 5 tours in this category that range in price from $69.90 to $929.90.

"The Big Island" of Hawaii Whale Watching Tours

Unlike other locations in Hawaii, the Big Island 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.


There are about 78 species of whales in the Order Cetacea.


Cetaceans are classified into two subgroups, Mysticeti or "baleen whales", and Odontoceti or "toothed whales".


Generally the toothed whales are found further off shore and can be often seen on one of the famous Kona coast Fishing Charters that ply the deep waters off the "Big Island" of Hawaii.


No other whale however matches the glitz and pizzazz of the active Humpback Whales which show up from roughly December through April.


Big Island of Hawaii whale watching trips abound through this period with Kona whale watching trips being the most prominent.


These beautiful animals make their annual journey from the waters off Alaska to the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.


Here they mate, cavort and give birth to their young.


You can often see babies which were just born traveling with their mothers and learning how to dive, slap their fins or flukes and breach high into the air.


One interesting fact about these new born calves is that they grow at the incredible rate of about 100 lbs a day strictly from the milk they receive from their mothers.


Speaking of food, another amazing fact about these annual visits is that the whales, while they are in Hawaiian waters, actually do no eating whatsoever.


They just live off the bounty of stored fat they accumulated while feasting on plankton, krill shrimp and other crustaceans in the Pacific waters of North America.


And while we're discussing unusual facts, let's also mention that the lung capacity of full grown Humpback is approximately the volume that would be taken up by a Volkswagen bug.


No wonder they can stay submerged for as long as an hour at a time.


There are a very large variety of whale watching trips.


Big Island of Hawaii whale watches generally leave both mornings and afternoons.


Pride of America Cruise Ship:

The following Whale Watching Tours on the Big Island of Hawaii do not pick up directly at the cruise ship but may be reached in some cases via a short walk, via a taxi cab or by a Rental Car that can be arranged by Tom Barefoot's Tours that will pick you up at the dock with a shuttle. These Whale Watching Tours are generally available to you on the Wednesday of your cruise itinerary while docking in the port of Kona.

Look for this symbol in the tour descriptions below to indicate if it is Pride of America compatible.

Whale Watching Tours Sorted by Specific Tour


Whale Watching Tours Sorted by Company

Hawaii Oceanic

1 Activity Option

Private Charters, Swim with Dolphins, Kealakekua Bay Tour, Whale Watching

Personalization is the key word describing the ocean adventures offered by Hawaii Oceanic on the Big Island. Six passengers is the maximum number that will be on board so you will have all the personal attention you will need on these adventurous tours on a comfortable 30' power catamaran. Tours will include snorkels to Kealakekua Bay, swim with the dolphin adventures, swim with Manta Ray trips and whale watches.
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Kamanu Charters Inc.

1 Activity Option

36' Sailing Catamaran

You'll enjoy "real sailing", snorkeling and whale watching on this trip with Kamanu Charters on their 36' custom designed sailing catamaran "Kamanu" to Pawai Bay. This area, located just north of Kona, is under State Fishery Management . The bay is within the Queen Liliuokalani Trust Land at Kaiwi Point and it is private. They also offer night manta ray snorkels.
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Aloha Dolphin Tours

4 Activity Options

Aloha Dolphin Tours - 25 Foot Power Catamaran, Group and Private Cruises

Aloha Dolphin Tours offers a variety of sea tour choices for exciting ocean adventures. Ideal for small group or intimate private charters this power catamaran makes Kealakekua Bay accessible to enjoy with your family and friends.
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So all of the island of Hawaii have whale watching and the Big Island is no different. The whales of course are primarily the humpback whales and they come from Alaska and Canada every year to visit, like a tourist. They travel thousands of miles all the way from Alaska to come to the islands of Hawaii. They come to all of them, and they just hang out here. They come to calve and to mate and presumably just enjoy life. They hang out in pods and cruise all day long around the islands and just seemingly have a great time.

They don't eat while they're here. They somehow are able to live off their body fat for months at a time and it's not until they return home that they have their next meal. So it's kind of a hibernation without being buried in the snow like a bear. They're actually active during their hibernation if you want to call it that. It's a fast, I guess, is what you would say.

Anyway, they are really exciting to watch. They're here during the months, whale season is primarily mid-December to mid-May but really the biggest part of it is going to be January, February, March. That's the heart of it. We do have whales that come earlier in October and even September, just a few scouts I guess on their way, and then some that leave in May. But really the majority of what we've got going is going to be happening in the January, February and March area.

These are neat. The whales are wonderful because any time you get on the water, you're going on a snorkel trip or you're going on a dive trip or whatever you may be doing, you have an extremely high likelihood of seeing whales, so that just adds to anything you do that time of year. But we actually have what we refer to as whale watches that are trips that go out specifically for the purpose to see the whales. On these vessels you're going out, everybody's going, "Where's the whales? Where are they?" Everybody looks. When you first make a sighting, then you start heading over to them and the idea is to get fairly close. You're not allowed to get right up on them. You have to stay 100 yards or so away and let the whales come over to you if they want to, but it's not to intrude on their territory. It's just for us to be able to see them and to get a sense of them, to enjoy them, to appreciate the whales. They really are fun.

Sometimes they do get close. These whales obviously were right up to the boat. Sometimes they'll come right up to the boat and go underneath you. That is an experience you probably won't forget especially if you're on a really small boat, which brings me to the fact that we've got a number of boats that go out to do these. We have large boats, large power boats, the double-deckers. They're a little bit more stable in the water. If it's a double-deck, from on top you really have a little bit more of a vantage point to look down to see whales and to see them on the horizon a little bit better than the boats that are just on the water.

But the advantage of being on one of the smaller boats is that you are actually right there with the whales. It is an overwhelming experience at times to be that close to whales when it happens. I say that only happens when they choose it to happen. It's luck of the draw. The Zodiac boats, the real small ones like that, are really nice for the right person. Some people may not be that comfortable on a small boat but it's great to be on a boat where you can ask questions because you'll have a bunch of the captain and he may be able to answer questions with more rapidity.

On the larger boats it's more of whale researchers on board and naturalists and there's people around that know stuff but they're giving you a little description of what's happening and that sort of thing, less of the back-and-forth. But they're wonderful any way you do it to get out to see the whales.

If you're here January, February and March, you want to make sure you get out on one of the whale watches if you can. They're also one of the more affordable tours that we have to get you out on the water.

So if you have any questions about tours or activities in Hawaii, just give us a call or check out tombarefoot.com.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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