November 24th, 2015
Maui is arguably home to some of the best Humpback whale watching in Hawaii. The waters off of Maui’s Southern and Western shores are relatively shallow and are surrounded by other islands, the West Maui mountains and Haleakala, creating calm and clear waters and optimal visibility.
These majestic marine mammals are here during the the winter and spring from about mid-December to mid-May for the purpose of mating, birthing and feeding their calves. Adults generally will not eat or sleep during this time.
While you will likely see them from a distance on the lanai at your hotel, be sure to join at least one whale watching tour. In addition to scenic ocean views expert guides and naturalists take you to the best spots to observe whales and explain some of the behaviours you will observe like breaching, pec slapping, spy hopping, tail slapping, spouting and more.
Regulations prohibit boats from approaching within 100 yards of a whale and you should never swim with or touch whales or any other marine mammals.
Since mating and birthing of calves occur in Hawaii, your whale watching expeience is especially enhanced for a number of reasons. Some of the most visible action comes from competition between males vying for attention of females; kind of like a singles club for Humpbacks! Males navigating for a closer position to a female can create a lot of commotion, including exposed fins and tails!
According to the experts, a female can fend off or encourage males with slaps of her entire tail, the back half of her body or even by by slapping her long pectoral fin on the water. To date, nobody has witnessed mating so the results of these actions remains a bit of a mystery.
Probably the most breath-taking sight, a full breach, is a complete mystery. Although many theories have been proposed, nobody knows why whales use so much energy to propel themselves completely out of the water. The most popular theories are that they are signaling their presence to boats or other whales or that they may be looking above the ocean’s surface. It could simply be fun; I would love to give it a try!
While on any whale watch (or snorkel during Humpback season), be sure to keep your ears tuned in as well. You will likely hear their song from the boat and will definitely hear it underwater!
Join us for a snokel and whale watch combination in the mornings or the afternoons at http://www.fourwindsmaui.com or www.mauimagicsnorkel.com and have the experience of a lifetime!