When Is Whale Season In Hawaii?
When you think of Hawaii you often think of beautiful beaches, incredible snorkeling, perhaps as of the late the erupting volcano, lu’aus and amazing sightseeing. Yet another great attraction to add to the list is whale watching! In fact many of our Hawaii tour guests inquire as to when whale season is and when whale watching tours become available to book. After all, there is just something about seeing these magnificent giants of the sea playing, jumping and their incredible water spouts when they come to the surface to breathe! So when do these ocean giants begin their own Hawaiian vacations? Whale season begins in November and lasts until May, with the peak months being Jan thru March. During these months you will find boat tours, whale watching cruises as well as being able to spot them along the coast line especially with binoculars!
What Types Of Whales Visit Hawaii?
Another frequently asked question on many of our Oahu tours is what kind of whales are found playing in the warm Pacific waters? Humpback whales use our hawaiian waters as their winter retreat to mate, calve and nurse their young. Why do they choose our waters specifically? There are actually a few reasons:
- The warm ocean waters found in Hawaii even during winter months
- Variety of depth in the water
- Visibility underwater
- Safe waters due to lack of predators
It is especially important for the Humpbacks to feel safe while they are spending the winter in the waters near our islands. In fact Humpbacks are considered an endangered species after the number that could be found dropped drastically due to commercial whaling. In fact, the species has grown from just 6,000 worldwide in 1993 to over 21,000 as of today. These large fish can seem a little intimidating and scary because of their size which can be between 40-50ft long & weighing around 80,000 pounds, however nothing could be farther from the truth. They are gentle loving creatures, who’s songs can be heard throughout the waters when snorkeling sometimes! The Humpback have their own song which is a sequence of sounds repeated in a specific pattern over and over. What’s really interesting is that this song tends to change from year to year and often depends on the waters they are in as well. Humpbacks are not predators and they eat by pulling the ocean water through their massive mouths to filter out the small ocean creatures that many of us fail to notice, such as krill.
Hawaii Real Nature Tours provide some of the best tours on Oahu and love sharing all the magic that Hawaii has to offer. Should you choose not to enjoy a boat tour or whale watching tour and seek to spot them on your own we have a few whale watching tips for all!
Whale Watching Tips
- Be sure to have a pair of binoculars or some type of viewing scope on hand( a cameras zoom lens even works!)
- Never get too close to a whale, while they are gentle creatures they do not like to feel trapped or cornered.
- Do NOT attempt to feed the whales should you be close to the ocean
- Look along the coast line to spot them jumping up out of the water while they play
- Male Humpbacks tend to service to “blow” (water spouts) every 10-15 min while their young surface to “blow” every 3-5 minutes
- Check the weather: increased winds or choppy water will decrease your chances of spotting whales
- Male Humpbacks water spouts can usually reach about 10-20ft so they are hard to miss
- Remember to put on sunscreen before your whale watching expedition. The Hawaiian sun can be quite powerful & sunburns are never fun!
- Should you come in counter with a whale while snorkeling which is often rare do not try to touch him! Remember they like their space and you do not want them to feel that they are in danger. After all they are wild animals and aim to protect themselves!
- Best places to spot whales on the Oahu are Makapu’u Lighthouse, Diamond Head, and the beaches by Hanauma Bay
The Humpbacks that visit our waters every winter are beautiful majestic creatures. We hope to keep them coming back to enjoy our winter waters for years on end as well as help them to continue to increase in specie size and to leave the ranks of endangered. Hawaii has many beautiful things to enjoy and be seen and Whale Watching is indeed one of them!