Snowbirds aren’t the only ones who travel to Hawai’i in the winter months. Humpback whales who live in the waters surrounding Alaska migrate to Hawaiian waters every year where they will stay for a couple months. People chose the wintertime to travel to Hawai’i for numerous reasons. They might be trying to escape the cold weather of wherever they are traveling from, or trying to avoid the huge crowds that flock to Hawai’i in the summertime, others may simply base their decision on their work, school, or family schedule. However, what makes these whales make the 1,000+ mile swim to the Hawaiian Islands every winter?
Humpback Whales typically spend a majority of their time in the colder parts of the ocean as they have large amounts of blubber which keeps them warm. This cold water is also nutrient-rich, unlike warmer parts of the ocean. When a whale calf is born, it does not yet have enough blubber to survive in cold waters, which is why Humpbacks migrate to warmer waters, like those around Hawai’i. Although, as mentioned previously, these warm waters are not nutrient-rich and filled with food like the northern waters. So what do the whales eat while in Hawai’i? Nothing. There is a major lack of food for whales in Hawaiian waters. These whales migrate for the sole purpose of giving birth. Considering that the whales will stay in Hawai’i November through April, this is astonishing.
The best way to see whales in Hawai’i is on Whales and You: Morning Whale Watch with Coffee and Donuts. On this 2-hour relaxing cruise, you will get to experience the beauty of these massive animals. You can sit back and enjoy your coffee and Poi Mochi donut (local favorite), while the crew provides information about the wildlife. The boats state-of-the-art sound system will project the whale songs that are picked up by the hydrophone that’s lowered into the water. These songs consist of clicks and whistles that can be picked up from up to 10,000 miles. These sounds are used for communication and navigation, similar to the way sonar is used. With this excursion you will also get a free trolley ride as your transportation to and from the boat (beginning 12/18/2023)
With Whales and You, you never have to worry about whether or not you’re going to actually observe whales. Although we cannot guarantee wildlife sightings, because wild animals are, well, wild! We do not have a whistle or treats for the whales to come to us. Even though whales are extremely large animals, the ocean is obviously much much larger, and you know what they say about wild animals, they are where you find them. Luckily for you and I, it is rare to not see whales on our whale watch, but even if we don’t, we offer a free return trip on the tour if no whales are seen! So if you’re looking for the best way t see whales in Hawai’i, Whales and You: Whale watching with hula and light breakfast is the best way to do so! Book your whale watch here