Maui is one of the many islands in Hawaii that has achieved international prestige, with its beautiful beaches, gigantic waves, and surprisingly sophisticated urban centers. If you’re in the Hawaiian Islands for vacation, and you love water, then Maui might just be heaven for you, since so much of the island’s recreation revolves around the water.
If you get tired of exploring the beaches, surfing, or any of the other popular water activities, going on a whale watching cruise can be a great way to spend a day while you’re on Maui. Best of all, it’s something you can do with the whole family. If you’re in Hawaii during the winter, you’re almost sure to spot a whale.
Maui, as some vacationers are surprised to find out, is one of the well-known winter residencies for humpback whales. The giant marine mammals follow a migration path all the way from Alaska to escape the harsh winter climate of their original habitat.
A great thing about whale watching in Maui is the long period of potentially seeing whales. Normally, the whales start to arrive from Alaska during the colder months of September to October. Their number grows considerably once as the temperature in Alaska drops as winter nears. Whales usually stay in the Maui area until May.
There are two main ways that people whale watch in Maui. One is to simply stand on shore and wait for them to show up. There are certain areas in Maui where they are clearly visible from the shore. These include Lahaina, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena, to name a few. For the past few years, they’ve also become easy to spot in the North Shore.
However, tourists may opt to watch whale watch while onboard a boat or catamaran. Finding a whale-watching service in Maui isn’t difficult at all, since there are many operators. Usually, the vessel starts off in any of the whale-populated areas mentioned above, like Lahaina and then travel out into deep water. Ships are legally allowed to be up to 100 yards away from a whale. If you’re lucky to be that close to a whale, you can get spectacular views.
Whale watching tours are popular, so it’s best to make reservations as far in advance as possible. Most boats have a very small legal capacity of around 25, and many of them take less than 20 people out at a time. While this can make reservations a little more challenging, the intimate group provides a much better experience!
Aside from actually making sure that visitors see the whales, the tour guides on whale watching cruises also offer some expert information about the animals and their habits. The guides often shed light on the whales’ pattern and what to expect from these creatures in the coming months. To avoid scaring the whales off, the guides typically don’t use megaphones. This works well with the intimate nature of the group.
Is it possible to go on a whale watching trip and not see any whales? Yes, but almost always, the tour guarantees it, or you get the trip for free!
Lori Hughes is the founder and owner of Island Trader. She is an entrepreneur, traveller, writer, and relaxation expert. She travels the world in search of turquoise water and island breezes, an island inspired lifestyle and tropical drinks.