Maui Vacation Whale Watching


As we mentioned in a prior blog recently, whale watching season is beginning on Maui and will continue through May as the humpbacks arrive to breed and give birth to their adorable little 2,000lb calves. Okay so maybe they aren't all that little, but they are still incredibly cute.

If you are going to be here on a Maui vacation during whale watching season, we strongly suggest that you take an opportunity to observe them. You could hop on a whale watching charter, perhaps with the Pacific Whale Foundation, or you could take a jaunt out to one of the many lookout points on the island. In fact, if you will be staying in a beachfront Maui vacation rental, all you'll need is a good pair of binoculars, and you'll be able to see the animals in great detail if they are exhibiting any of their exciting above-water behaviors.

Maui's south and west shores are ideal for whale watching, as the animals seem to prefer these calm waters somewhat over the more turbulent shores to the north and east. Also, because conditions are usually much calmer, visibility is better. Now if you won't be getting here until sometime between February and March, don't worry. These are the months when the whales are most active, and present in their highest numbers.

As to why they breed and give birth to their calves here, it's a simple but long migration. During summer, there is more food to be found at the poles than other times of the year. There they will fill up on fish and plankton until they have a healthy supply of fat. They come to the calm, warm waters of Hawaii in the winter because conditions are much more ideal for young calves who are just learning how to swim. The poles can be quite stormy, after all, and these animals use sound to keep track of each other, which is why mothers can lose their calves if the storm is turbulent enough. Their young need time to develop, learn and grow before they can make the dangerous journey. Mating also takes place during Hawaii's winters because a whale's gestation time (the time between conception and birth), is about 11.5 months. Females that breed one year will return to give birth the following year.

Many people aren't aware of this, but humpback whales are the most acrobatic of the baleen whales. Their complex behaviors involve spy breaching, pectoral fin slapping and lob tailing. These behaviors are not well understood, but scientists have begun to link them to sparring between males for breeding rights over a given female.

Here are a couple of fun tidbits of information that most people don't know. 1. Social interactions are very rare between adult humpbacks and other marine species. However, humpback calves and dolphin calves have been known to play together! 2. Sometimes, if you are in the ocean and you dip beneath the surface on a calm day, you can hear the males singing!

We hope we've inspired you to make the most of whale-watching season, but no matter how you choose to spend your days on Maui, be safe and have fun! If you need any assistance with your Maui accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!