Maui Humpback Whale Season

Humpback whales spend their winters here in Hawaii where they come to breed and give birth to their young. This is one of our many blessings, as whale watching is a beloved activity among visitors and residents alike. While these fascinating giants are at their peak in numbers between January and March, whale season officially begins in December.

Humpbacks feed at the poles in the summer, and when the cold winter comes, they make their way to our tropical waters. Some of our human visitors actually follow the same pattern, working throughout the year before leaving their cold, snowy homes for a sunny and warm Maui vacation in the winter. Why spend on heating bills when you can spend on blissful beach basking with cool fruity drinks, or on memorable adventures through Maui's countless activities? There's a lot of fun to be had here, and the humpbacks seem to know that too.

This particular species of whale just so happens to be the most acrobatic among baleen whales. That means they are the most likely to be seen, with a broad spectrum of showboating, such as breaching, fin slapping, spy hopping, lob tailing and other dynamic behaviors. Add baby whales to the mix for extra cuteness and you've got one heck of a spectacle to tell your friends about when you get home! Better yet, you may have the chance to snap some great pictures, especially if you've booked a whale watching charter. We recommend using an actual camera with a neck strap for security, simply because phones are easy to drop on a moving boat, and losing yours to the ocean would put a damper on your vacation.

As for where to go to see the whales, it's hard to say. With a little patience and luck, you might spot them anywhere this time of year. The first sighting of last year's season was made by Atlantis Submarines, which operates out of Lahaina Harbor, near our West Maui accommodations. If you book a trip with them, or with any other ocean charter, you're increasing your chances of getting a good sighting, compared with watching from shore. Most tour companies won't officially offer whale watching trips yet because it's still early, but if you go on a sunset cruise, for example, you might be lucky enough to spot them.

If you're not a fan of boats, watching from shore can be a great option. We do have some beautiful ocean view condos on higher floors, so you'll get sweeping ocean vistas from your balcony. Bring a good pair of binoculars so that when you see the trademark spout of the whales when they come up for air, you can hone in on their location for a magnified look. Or if you have a camera with a tripod and a powerful zoom, you can snap some amazing photos.

Finally, the best way to increase your odds of seeing these animals is to come when they are at their peak between January and March. We hope you have an unforgettable experience! Don't forget your sunscreen, and mahalo for reading this week!