Sunday, February 22, 2009

Humpback Whales of Maui

One of the best things about a trip to Maui in the winter is the excitement of seeing the humpback whales that travel from Alaska each year to mate and give birth in our warm tropical waters.
It is hard to imagine that more than 10,000 whales make this long return journey of over 3000 miles to bless the shores of Hawaii with their magnificent presence.

I remember being so excited the first time that I heard the whale's songs while snorkeling off Black Rock with Syl, my snorkel buddy sister. I have since learned that the songs can last from 10 to 20 minutes, and are often repeated for hours. It is thought that perhaps these plaintive melodies have something to do with mating.

Another interesting fact about the Humpbacks is that they fast during the 6 months that they are in Maui. This is because their food supply is way up in Alaska so they fill up on krill, small fish and plankton before making their long journey. It is only the calves that get to feed on their mothers' sweet rich milk during their stay here.

A visit to the Whaler's Museum in Kaanapali is a worthwhile diversion for those interested in learning more about these amazing mammals. There is a fascinating display which tells the story of the old whaling days in Lahaina. Also there is a small theatre that shows some excellent videos on humpback whales. Admission to the museum is free.

No trip to Maui is complete without a whale watching excursion. Our favourite company for whale watching is the Pacific Whale Foundation because they are very eco-friendly and their goal is to save and protect whales through research and education. Another plus is that they always have a certified marine biologist on board.

Yesterday we had fun attending Maui Whale Day in Kihei. This special day is part of the Maui Whale Festival's month long celebration of Humpback Whales, and a fundraiser for the marine education program offered to Maui school children by Pacific Whale Foundation's marine education team. The day started off with a delightful parade and then onto Kalama Park for a huge craft fair, and many food venues representing some of Maui's favourite restaurants.

If you have the good forture to come on a Maui vacation we know that you will learn to love Humpback Whales, as we do.

Consider staying in a Maui Vacation Home during your visit to the "Valley Isle".


  1. Yes, Julie, you are so right with the whale watch. It does not need to be an expensive boat trip.

    Just drive one of those highways along the coast - on whatever Hawaiian island you are - and go in cruising mode. Stop when you see people pointing at the ocean and just having a good time. That's the indication the humpback whales are right there playing and hopefully doing some breaching.

    Aloha, Pua
    Best Hawaii Vacation Blog

  2. Thanks for the comment Pua. Please read about more ways to enjoy Maui without spending much money at Maui on a Budget.