A tour boat company out of Lahaina reports seeing a humpback whale on Sunday, October 7th and again yesterday. The first whale sighting was October 11th last year and whales have been seen near Maui as early as September 16th. Whale season peak is usually in February and March. Between 7,000 and 9,000 humpback whales visit the warm sheltered waters of Hawaii each year. Here’s how yesterday’s sighting was described to the Honolulu Advertiser:
Then about 12:15 p.m. yesterday on another Lana’i cruise with 24 passengers, a blow from a single whale was spotted while the Lanakila was stopped at a snorkeling spot about a mile southwest of the Lana’i lighthouse, said Capt. David Larsen.
“We got everybody out of the water to go look. It’s so rare to see them this time of the year,” he said.
“The whale popped up about 200 yards away and swam toward us. It breathed three times and then did a tail-up dive.”
About 12 minutes later, the 35-foot whale surfaced only 20 yards from the boat, took three breaths and disappeared into the deep, Larsen said.
Spinner dolphins were swimming nearby.
“It was crazy,” he said.
Keanini said all the passengers grabbed their cameras “and were shooting like you’ve never seen.”
“It’s really exciting. The buzz is going around the harbor,” he said.
It’s easy to pick up on the excitement! I’ve been to Maui twice during whale season and I remember how addicting it can be to watch the water for whales to breach, blow, or show off their tails as they dive down deeper. You can often see whales from the shoreline, but for an up close view, consider taking a whale watching excursion. To get an idea of what it’s like to whale watch, take a look at this YouTube video taken from an excursion:
Video credit to Bunge2112