Every year, visitors flock to Maui for a chance to get a glimpse of the North Pacific humpback whales. These gentle giants grow up to 60 feet long and can weigh 80,000 pounds, but despite their size, they move quite gracefully, even leaping out of the water in acrobatic displays unique to the species. Seeing these creatures in person is an unforgettable experience and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your Maui getaway.
If you are hoping to spot a humpback whale on your vacation to Maui, you have come to the right place because the experts at Parrish Maui are here to help. We have compiled a guide on everything you need to know about whale season to give yourself the best chance of watching humpback whales while on Maui.
Maui Humpback Whale Season
Every year, thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaskan waters to Maui’s warm waters. For many Hawaiians, the whales’ return marks the unofficial beginning of winter.
The first humpback whale sightings around Maui typically occur in October and November, but the total number of whales around the island at that time is low. December 15 is the official start of whale season on Maui, which runs through March. However, February is peak season, when you can find the highest number of whales in Maui’s waters. Visiting Maui anytime from mid-December to March will give you an excellent opportunity to go whale watching and take in the beauty of these majestic creatures.
Humpback Whale Behavior
Humpback whales are fascinating creatures, and if you are unfamiliar with them, you might have some questions about their behavior. Since they are mammals, they need to come to the surface to breathe; adult humpbacks typically breathe every 10-15 minutes, while calves usually come up to breathe every three to five minutes. Spotting a whale breathing is easy; just look for a misty spray blowing out of the ocean.
Humpbacks are also known for slapping the water’s surface with their tails or pectoral fins. Marine biologists believe that these behaviors are a form of communication between whales.
However, the most dramatic behavior of the humpback whale is breaching. A breach is when the whale launches its body out of the water. Seeing the speed and power behind a breach is a truly breathtaking experience.
Finally, there are the songs. Male humpbacks can sing underwater, and you can hear their songs up to 12 miles away. One song can last for 40 minutes. Many whale watching tours submerge hydrophones to give tourists a chance to listen to these unique songs.
How to Go Whale Watching on Maui
In most destinations with whales, the only chance you have to view a whale is out on a boat. However, Maui is a fantastic place for whale watching from the shoreline. In fact, you might be able to view the whales from the covered lanai at your Maui vacation rental. All of our Kapalua Bay Villas and some of our Kapalua Ridge Villas offer great vantage points for whale watching.
If you want to get a closer look at the whales, try a whale watching tour. Whale watching tours are plentiful on Maui and are a great way to view these grandiose mammals while an expert gives you fascinating background information.
Start Planning Your Maui Whale Watching Adventure
There is nothing like seeing a whale up close and personal for the first time, and Maui is a top destination for whale watching. You can start planning your whale watching adventure to Maui with Parrish Maui; we offer a wide range of vacation rentals at the luxurious Kapalua Resort. Get started today by booking your rental online or calling 977-854-9070 for more information.