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Humpback Whale Season Is Early In 2018

Humpback Whale Season is the Holiday Season

Last week Monday the 8th, the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui was excited to announce the sighting of Hawaii’s first humpback whale of the season!

Capt. Aaron Bement reported seeing the while one of the daily Molokini snorkel cruise; he first saw the whale a little after 8:00am and about 2.5 miles off shore from the Maalaea Harbor.

Via a Pacific Whale Foundation news releases, Capt. Aaron Bement said:

“This is why we do this. You never know what you’ll see on any given day. One day, it’s the endangered false killer whales that our research team is studying, the next spinner dolphins, and today our first humpback whale sighting.”

Maui Whale Watching

This year’s sighting was an early one as whale season in Hawaii doesn’t typically start until the month of November and will run until the end of May.

Although, 2017’s whale sighting was also and early one and only 1 day later than 2018’s; however, 2017’s first sighting was off of Honolua Bay.  In previous years, the foundation’s first whale sightings occurred as early as Sept. 16 (2000) and as late as Nov. 11 (2005).

Is a Whale Watching Tour For You?

While Maui is the best island for whale watching, it isn’t for everyone. When it comes to whale watching you have 2 options. The first choice is just 2-3 hour boat ride in the ocean looking for whales. The 2nd option is a bit more dynamic and is boat ride to a snorkeling location like Molokini while being able to look for whales along your way.

My personal choice is the 2nd option, that way you can get to snorkel in deep water locales and look for whales.

Maui’s Whale Watching Season

The standard whale watching season is a 6 month window from from December to mid May when the whales migrate to the warmer waters of Hawaii to raise their young. Maui is the premier spot in the state to whale watch because they favor the shallow Maui waters which are around 300-600 feet deep.

You are more likely to see the whales off of West Maui and South Maui because of the wind protection that the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala provide, their wind shielding capabilities create the calm and clear waters the Whales desire so much.

The humpback whales are a highly regulated commodity in Hawaii and must be respected. Due to state regulations, the boats will not approach the whale when it is 100 yards or closer. If the whale does approach the boat, the captain will turn off the engine and let the whales pass by and clear the area before moving on. However this situation is very rare, a majority of the sightings will occur in the distance when the whales are breaching.

On occasion, whales can sometimes be seen from shore. The best viewing location are from Maui’s south and west shores, the areas include Makena, Wailea, Kihei, Ma’alaea, Olowalu, Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua.

As of late, sightings have become more common off the North Shore, in places like Ho’okipa and Kuau. Hana on a rare occasion also offers very good whale sightings.

Whale Watching Tour Companies

Tour can be chartered from Lahaina or Maalaea harbor and will generally run you around $75-$150 depending on if lunch is included and if you stop to go snorkeling. Here are some of our picks:

  1. Pacific Whale Foundation:
  2. Trilogy Excursions:
  3. Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel:

Contact a Maui Real Estate Specialist

Please consider me to be your trusted Maui real estate and lifestyle adviser. I was born and raised on the island, and spend a considerable amount of time to inform my clients about the best deals currently on the market. Don’t hesitate to call me for your any of your Maui real estate needs as I would be honored to assist you in your home search.


Anthony Sayles R(S)

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