On Monday I was back on The Pride of Maui for an afternoon Maui whale watch and snorkel cruise with my friend Lucy. We were mainly here for the whale watch because February is peak season for whales on Maui. While we were checking in at Maalaea Harbor, I snapped a photo of the catamaran coming in with its morning passsangers. My husband and I been on the Pride of Maui back in December for a sunset dinner and cocktail cruise so I was familiar with this wonderful vessel.
|Lucy and I waiting to board|
Just before boarding Captain Patrick introduced himself and gave the mandatory safety talk before we could get on the boat. I found out later that he has been a captain on the Pride of Maui for 15 years, and loves being out on the ocean because every day is different. He was raised in Lahaina and grew up on boats so it was a natural transition for him to become a captain.
Captain Patrick told us that a newborn calf is 12 to 15 ft. in length and weighs a whopping 1 to 2 tons. Not only that but the baby drinks an astounding 100 gallons of the mother's rich milk every day. Girls, can you imagine even producing that much milk, especially in a state of starvation? I had learned quite a lot about whales on previous whale watches but it never fails to impress me that these gentle giants migrate each year all the way from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii where they mate and give birth to their young. Their feeding grounds are Alaska because food is abundant in the North Pacific, however while in Hawaii they are literally in a state of starvation until they return to Alaska.
|A beautiful sight ( I didn't take this photo but I own it royalty free)|
When mother and calf had each shown their beautiful tail as they disappeared into the ocean, the captain announced that they could be down for up to 40 minutes before having to come up again and breathe. He also mentioned that the design on each whale's fluke is unique just as our fingerprints are, so that is how they can be identified by scientists and marine biologists or anyone else who knows what to look for. For more information about the humpback whales visit the Maui Whale Watching page on Pride's website.What a start to the trip! Now we were all actively looking for more whales as we continued on our way.
|Heading out to sea|
|First mate Matt with my ginger drink on the right|
Finally it was announced that we were nearing Coral Gardens, the snorkeling site for today. As we approached the little bay which is just below the end of the Pali, we saw a couple of other snorkel boats and amazing blue green water.
|Approaching Coral Gardens|
|Snorkeling lesson from Captain Patrick|
Lucy and I decided not to snorkel this time, so we just enjoyed watching everyone getting into the water and having fun. The crew were right there to help and they had lots of flotation devices for anyone who couldn't float or needed a bit of extra security. They even had boards for kids to hold onto, as well as a fun slide. Jason, one of the four crew members was life guard for the day. Sorry Jason, that I never snapped a shot of you.
|Stephanie cooking hamburgers and hotdogs|
|The captain barbequing the chicken|
After lunch we headed out to find more whales and we did. Eventually it was time to go back to Maalaea Harbor. Boy did that 4 hours ever go by fast!
|Heading back to Maalaea Harbor|
It seemed like every second person I spoke to on the ship was from Alberta Canada. First I met a couple from Clive Alberta, near Red Deer. Gary had just come in from snorkeling so I asked him how it was. He said it was nice and clear and that he saw lots of colourful fish and even swam with a sea turtle. While he was snorkeling his wife Bev was looking after their grandson Liam.
|Gary and Bev Krochak with grandson Liam|
The Nelson family, from Edmonton, were having a family reunion and 16 of them were on the boat representing four generations. Mike and Tracy Nelson, who have a four year old son, told me that they always choose the Pride of Maui and have been on it at least 8 times. They said that they recommend the Pride of Maui to everyone they meet. I thought their reasons were most valid after our experience, so thought I would share them with you.
1. The boat is nice and big so it is more stable which is especially good if you are prone to sea-sickness
2. The crew is always super friendly and helpful.
3. The captain is very knowledgable about whales and so the cruise is educational.
4. There are boogie boards with site holes for kids, and all snorkeling equipment is provided.
5. There are lots of food choices for adults as well as kids.
6. Mai Tais, beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks are included in the price.
7. Great value for a four hour excursion with all the above.
I asked Mike if I could take a group photo so I did just that when we got off the boat.
|The Nelson family from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada representing 4 generations|
Thankyou Pride of Maui for another fantastic excursion!