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Whale Watching Season In Hawaii | How It Works

A Whale in Kauai swimming underwater

It’s that time of year again! Whale watching season is officially open in Hawaii. If you’re planning on visiting us soon, or if you’re just curious about what to expect, this post is for you. We’ll go over everything from the best time of year to see whales to the different types of whales you might encounter. So read on and get ready for an amazing experience!

When Is Whale Watching Season in Hawaii?

Whale watching season in Hawaii officially starts in November and ends in May. The best seasons for whale watching are typically January and February when they have migrated to the warmer waters of Hawaii. During this time of year, there are often dozens of humpback whales migrating through the islands, making for an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re on a boat or standing on the shore, whale watching is an amazing way to get up close and personal with these giant creatures. Whale watching season is a truly magical time in Hawaii, so if it’s something you’ve wanted to do for a long time – try and visit during the active whale season.

How & Why Whales Visit Hawaii

During the summer months, you can find whales in their feeding grounds in the Polar Regions of the Pacific. These areas are full of food sources like krill, plankton, and other small fish species.

Because their food sources start to slow down in the winter, two-thirds of North American Humpback whales travel over 3,000 miles to reach the tropical islands around Hawaii. According to scientists, these island vacations are much needed since they’re such a perfect place for whales to relax and be comfortable as the oceans become colder in most places.

You’re least likely to see whales in November. Pregnant females come last around this time because they’ll stay near Alaska to feed until it’s almost time for them to go to their “summer” home. After that time period, you’ll see mother whales with their calves followed by juveniles and newly weaned yearlings, then adult males, and finally adult females without young.

If You’re Lucky, You’ll Get “Mugged” During Whale Watching Tours & Cruises

Whale watching is a popular activity among nature enthusiasts and there are often reports of whales “mugging” boats. But what does this term actually mean? “Mugging” is when a whale approaches a boat relatively close and then swims alongside it for a while. This sometimes even includes jumping out of the water and splashing the boat if you’re lucky.

This behavior is most commonly seen in humpback whales, but can also be seen in other types of whales. While the exact reasons why whales mug boats are not entirely clear, it is believed that they do it out of curiosity. In some cases, they may also be looking for food. Whatever the reason, it’s always an impressive sight to see a whale up close!

What Kinds Of Whales Come To Hawaii?

  • Humpback whales, which are considered some of the most majestic whales
  • Melon Headed Whales
  • Short Finned Pilot Whales
  • False Killer Whales
  • Sperm Whales, however, they are very rare to see

Whales & Their Cultural Significance On The Hawaiian Islands

Whales have incredible significance to native Hawaiians and their culture. They appear in many Hawaiian legends and are also seen in some of the petroglyphs (ancient paintings & art) around the islands.

When the Humpback Whale returns every season, it is seen as a usual business and a welcome home for these marine mammals. Because humpback whales are born in Hawaiian waters, they are believed to be a natural piece of the islands and family protectors.

Humpback Whale Facts

  • Humpback Whales can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh 40 tons.
  • Their flippers are known as one the largest appendage in the animal kingdom
  • They typically travel in small groups known as “pods”, and travel all over the world in search of good food and weather
  • Male whales can sing for up to hours in search of a mate
  • Whale songs can be heard up to 20 miles away
  • Humpback whales are one of 12 whale species, called baleen whales

Visit us at Na Pali Riders during whale season!

Na Pali Riders offers guided raft tours of the Na Pali Coast, and during whale season there’s a chance you could see one of these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitat! During your tour, you might see a whale breaching or mugging out of the water–you might even hear them singing! Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready, because a whale sighting is an experience you’ll never forget!

Give us a call or reach out over email if you have any questions about whale watching season and raft tours. We hope this article has taught you a bit more about these awesome marine creatures, and we look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for reading!

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