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Got to Love them Humpbacks on Maui Hawaii

January 4, 2012

North Pacific Humpback Whales love the warm and shallow waters between Maui, Kahoolawe, Molokai and Lanai islands. They begin arriving to this warm haven, where the water is no more than 300 feet, as early as November. January is typically the height of their migration even though whale watching expeditions begin around Thanksgiving.

Humpback whale breaching off the coast of Maui; photo taken from

The best thing about whale watching in Maui is that you do not necessarily need to go on a boat tour to see whales if your timing is right. A great place to look for humpbacks is at the scenic lookout point along the Pali Highway a few miles west of Maalaea Harbor. You will not be alone as people stand on the hillside overlooking the ocean to watch all the whale activity through binoculars.

If you want to experience the whales up close and personal go for the thrill of a boat tour. There is really nothing like experiencing the adventure of having one of these gentle giants swim directly underneath you. If you are vacationing on Maui during December 15 – April 15, do yourself a favor and go on a whale watch! These trips are educational and almost all tours guarentee whale sightings so you will not be disappointed.

Fun whale watching terms and behaviors:

  1. Tail Slapping – when a whale slaps his tail on the surface of the ocean
  2. Breaching – when a whale lifts a majority of its body out of the water
  3. Spy Hopping – when a whale pokes its head out of the water enough for its eyes to break the surface to check out the surroundings

– Bob Froio, Destination Expert

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