Whales in Hawaii
Whale season in Hawaii is from December to April. Right now, along the Panoramic Coastline Tour on the Blue Line, you can see whales from the Waikiki Trolley’s double decker buses. Whales can be seen along the East Side of Waikiki, Diamond Head, Gold Coast and all the way up to Makapu’u lighthouse.
Humpback whales are an endangered species. There are approximately 21,000 in the world and about 10,000 come to winter in Hawaii. They migrate 3,000 miles each year. In the summer months they travel to Alaska to eat, and in the winter they come to Hawaii to mate, birth their calves, and nurse their young.
Why Do Whales Come to Hawaii?
Whales come from Alaska during the Winter to frolic in the warm Hawaiian water. Who can blame them? The water in Hawaii is perfect for them; there are not many natural predators to be found here, (think orca whales and sharks) and the various depths of the ocean make it safe for them to have their babies and nurse.
Whales have been an important fixture in Hawaiian storytelling. Whales are known as the majestic manifestation of Kanalo and represent the the time of native Hawaiian ancestral migration. Their bones or ivory was thought to have special powers.
Whale Behaviors in Hawaii
When you go Whale watching there are several behaviors that you may see. You can share these with your friends and family to become the whale behavior expert in the group!
- Breaching: Most or all of the whales body is out of the water. They do this behavior to communicate, attract whales, and ward off others.
- Fin and Tail Slapping: When whale slaps their fin or tail on the water. It makes a loud noise. This action is how whales communicate with each other and can also be use to scare off fish. Many times you may see a mother teaching her calf this.
- Spy Hopping: When a whale raises their head straight up out of the water to look around
- Blow: Cloud of water vapor a whale shoots out of their blowhole located at the top of their head. Whales have to remember to breathe constantly. They actually don’t ever fully sleep, but only let half of their brains sleep so the other half can remember to breathe.
Insider Tip: It’s nice to bring binoculars with you when you go whale watching in Hawaii. Remember to bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat when you go whale watching. Even if the weather is cooler or overcast, the Hawaiian sun is bright and intense.