Whale watching tours on Maui


We are sure, you heard about Whale Watching Tours on Maui happening during winter months (December-May). In fact Maui is the indisputable epicenter for whale watching tours in Hawaii. Maui and its surrounding islands of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe are actually the very top of one mammoth underwater volcano and just at the very peak of this mountain are the various islands delineated by shallow waterways which separate each of the islands. These channels between islands provide shallow and warm waters for the Humpback Whales to enjoy after there long and arduous journey each year from Alaska and Canada. The Lahaina Road stead area and Maalaea Bay are something akin to a resort to these amazing whales. Rather than spending all day pressing on in their incredible marathon swims from Alaska or spending all day searching out food in their home environment they instead spend their days lounging in these protected waters slowly swimming about in pods, going through the mating rituals as they court one another and giving birth to whales that were conceived the previous year. This yearly visit proves to be a blessing for us as we are able to observe them in their relaxed state on one of our many whale watch cruises. Our whale watch tours are truly the apex of our boating season as visitors wait with anticipation to be able to arrive this time of year to observe this spectacle on one of our whale watching vessels. Throughout the year we are barraged by questions as to the exact time the Maui whale season begins and ends so people can plan to arrive at a time when a whale watch cruise will be available for them.

Maui’s whale watches depart dozens of times during each day during the winter whale season to view the spectacular Humpback Whale.

  • The Humpback Whale has come for generations to this area between the islands of Maui County and spends its days here mating, giving birth and nursing their babies.
  • Humpback Whales swim to Maui from Alaska, spend the whole winter here, then make the long journey back home leaving Maui between April and May.
  • Humpback Whales don’t eat a thing during all the months they are away from Alaska.
  • Whales’ lungs are the size of a Volkswagen car!
  • Whales’ babies, born here on Maui, grow at a rate of 100 pounds a day!
  • Adult Humpback Whales lose about 25% of their body weight during this period.
  • Humpback Whales spend the majority of their day below the surface of the water and just come to the surface to breathe. Though these whales can stay down for as long as 45 minutes, their average dive time is about 10 minutes.
  • We can hear the whales “song” on hydrophones from Maui’s whale watch boats. Remarkably, all male whales will sing the exact same, but very complex, song at the beginning of the whale season and this song will change in the same way for all of them as the season progresses. The next years song will begin where this year’s song left off.
  • No one really knows exactly why the Humpback whales sing these songs or what they mean.

The Best Whale Watching in Maui

The waters around Maui are a legislated sanctuary for the Humpback whale, and since these Humpbacks whales are treated with such great respect, they keep coming back year after year. Pods put on a spectacular show, playing, slapping their flukes, waving their tails and “breaching” (leaping high out of the water into the air) and the large number of Maui’s whale watch boats travel out into the shallow waters between the islands to view this amazing spectacle. Many different types of large and small crafts will take you to watch whales for several hours, but these whale watch boats are basically divided into two main categories.

  • Many people would prefer a large and stable Maui whale watch vessel often with an upper deck suitable to see whales in the distance.
  • Others will prefer the smaller Maui whale watch boats such as the extremely fast and maneuverable zodiac or rigid hull inflatables or even kayaks which provide an ocean surface vantage point to meet the whales “one on one”.
  • All Maui whale watch boats will provide narration and explain the whale behaviors you will be seeing.
  • Most Maui whale watch boats will provide hydrophone so you can hear the “whale song” first hand
  • Most Maui whale watch tours last about two-hours in length

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