Humpback Whales have been a fascinating part of Hawaiian folklore and of life in Hawaii for centuries. In fact, there are ancient petroglyphs, or stone carvings, that were found depicting drawings of native Hawaiians riding on the backs of Humpback Whales. Today, whale watching tours are the best way to undergo whale watching in Maui. Visitors are taken out by boat to the places where whales gather annually during the best time to whale watching, between November and May.
Whales gather off the coast of Maui for three main reasons, to breed, to give birth to their young calves, and to spend time raising those calves in a place where there are not many natural predators. Just like human parents, whale parents want their young to be safe as they begin life. Seeing gigantic whales while whale watching off Lahaina provides lifelong memories as you watch them perform behaviors that are inherent to mating and breeding.
Your Hawaii Whale watching adventure begins here
Unique Behaviors You Will See from Humpback Whales
The North Pacific Humpback Whales that are endemic to Hawaii display some incredibly interesting behaviors that are simply natural to them. When you go whale watching from Lahaina, you may watch as whales blow. This is the way they breathe. They come to the surface and blow a large spray of water into the air, which is always a fascinating thing for visitors to watch.
Another behavior unique to Humpback Whales is slapping. Whether they are doing a tail slap, pectoral slap with their fins or flippers, or a peduncle slap done with their majestic tails, visitors usually enjoy watching them slap the surface of the water. A basic tail slap is thought to be a warning signal given to potential predators or to other whales. A truly interesting behavior you might see during whale watching tours is an action called a Spy Hop. This is when whales rise vertically out of the ocean, raising their head above the water. Scientists believe this is done so they can survey the area around them and find out what’s happening on the surface of the ocean.
Humpback whales are also famous for arching, lunging and even breaching. Breaching is an action that makes whales look like acrobats as they rise from the water and land on the ocean surface with a gigantic splashing motion. Visitors are captivated by these unique behaviors. They are the main entertainment when you go whale watching from Maui.
Have You Ever Heard a Whale Sing?
Scientists believe that Humpback Whales sing basically as a form of communicating, but there are also legends and stories of whales singing as they go through rituals, or even for spiritual reasons. Male Humpback Whales sing to attract females, and to discourage other competing males who also want attention from females. To complete a whale song can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. There is such a specific pattern to their songs that when songs are recorded, whales seem to pick up where they left off if they stop in the middle of a song.
There have been non-profit groups that have recorded whale songs to raise money for groups interested in protecting marine life. When swimmers and divers have been underwater, they’ve reported hearing whale songs. This happens mainly on Kapalua beach, in Lahaina, and in Ka’anapali, all located in West Maui.
Various Activities are Available during Whale Watching Tours
You can choose tours for whale exploration that are classical viewing tours, or tours that combine activities like snorkeling. Some places during the best time to whale watching let you take a private chartered boat to see whales, or even a sunset cruise for those who are looking for a romantic adventure combined with the thrills of seeing Humpback Whales.
With your expert, knowledgeable crew and your professional Captain, you know you’ll be in good hands as you embark on whale watching from Lahaina. You’ll learn about the unique behaviors of whales and what those behaviors mean, as well as statistics, facts about fascinating Humpback Whales, the best ways to spot whales, and how to hear them sing.
An Enjoyable Trip for Novices and Pros
Whether this is your first time ever seeing whales live in their natural habitat, or you’re a professional photographer who has had this unique experience many times, you’ll be fascinated and enthralled by these gentle giants of the ocean. Some of the most premiere photographic opportunities in the world have happened in these Hawaiian coastal waters during the whale’s mating and breeding season.
The Humpback Whale population has increased from about 1,400 in 1966 to over 21,000 in 2014. With a steady whale population increase of about seven percent a year, you can be assured that opportunities for whale watching from Maui will continue for years to come. Whale watching excursions are your best way to experience Hawaiian whale watching adventures.