Maui Vacation Travel Blog

Maui, Hawaii is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. Both guests and residents of our island paradise take pride in its diverse landscapes and all it has to offer. We offer Maui travel tips, area spotlights, activities, events and more!

10 Fun Facts About Humpback Whales

Here are some of the reasons why whale watching is one of Hawaii's most popular activities.
January 12, 2018

10 Fun Facts About Humpback Whales

Enjoying a warm, winter vacation to Maui this year? January and February are the best months for whale watching as throngs of humpbacks congregate to make the most of their annual trip to the islands. In fact, the calm, sheltered waters of the Auau Channel between West Maui, Lanai and Molokai, consistently attract more whales than any other area in Hawaii. So, if you end up staying at one of our West Maui vacation rentals, hopping on a fantastic whale watching cruise from the nearby Lahaina Harbor will be especially convenient. We recommend an early morning excursion, when the water is calmest and the whales are busy starting a new day. But why opt for whale watching instead of some other activity? Because humpback whales are extraordinary creatures! Here's why.

1. Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of the baleen whales. This translates to one heck of a show for onlookers who get to see a variety of fascinating behaviors like breaching, tail slapping, spy hopping (where they poke their heads up out of the water) and more.

2. Although the males are massive at 43 to 46 feet in length, females grow larger, reaching 49 to 52 feet.

3. While both male and female humpbacks use vocal communication, only males sing. They do this throughout the breeding season, which takes place in the winter, while they're here in Hawaii. So, if you're swimming underwater in the ocean, you might just hear their songs. 

4. One of the few natural predators of the humpback is the orca, which tends to go after young calves. But the adults are known to retaliate, and have even been documented interfering with orcas while they're hunting other animals. 

5. The average humpback consumes 4,400-5,500 pounds of plankton, krill, and schooling fish each day during their summer feeding season.

6. Humpback whales are identified by their tails. Each one has a unique pattern, so scientists use it like a fingerprint. 

7. During the mating season, humpbacks are observed to come up for air every 10-15 minutes, but they have been documented to hold their breath for as long as 45 minutes. 

8. The Hawaiian word for whale is "kohola." Historically, the Native Hawaiians had great respect for these giants, and didn't hunt them. 

9. The average adult humpback weighs 66,000 lbs. 

10. There's only one U.S. sanctuary dedicated to a single species. That is The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which was established in 1992.

As interesting as all of this may be, there's nothing like seeing these magnificent marine mammals in person! Seeing an animal that size is an unforgettable and awe-inspiring experience for most. So, if you'll be here on a Maui vacation in the winter or spring months, we recommend that you make time for a whale watching boat tour. If you're not a fan of boat rides, you can enjoy some great whale watching from shore. In fact, we have some oceanfront Maui condo rentals where you can watch the whales right from your lanai. If you need our assistance with your booking, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

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