Hawaii Fact 49 of 50: Hawaii’s Winter Guests — Humpback Whales

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One of the most fascinating natural phenomenon that occurs in Hawaii, is the humpback whale’s annual winter visit to the islands. They travel some 3,000 miles from the North Pacific to give birth to their calves, nurse, and breed. It is believed that humpbacks return to Hawaii because of the warm waters, the underwater visibility, the variety of ocean depths, and the lack of natural predators. According to WhaleTrust, the “Hawaiian Islands comprise the largest known reproductive assembly of humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean, with an estimated four to six thousand whales visiting each year.

Here are some interesting facts about humpback whales:

  • At birth, calves weigh approximately 1.5 tons and are between 10 and 16 feet long.
  • An adult humpback weighs between 42 and 45 tons and measures between 42 and 45 feet in length.
  • When the whales are traveling to and from Hawaii, they travel at approximately 3 to 7 miles per hour with very few stops.
  • Scientist believe that whales fast while they are in Hawaii.
  • The Hawaiian name for the humpback whale is Kohola

Source: Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

To get a glimpse of how amazing these creatures are while they’re in Hawaii, see this video.

  1. Great fact on the speed of only 3-7 mph. That’s something I never knew before.

    I would venture to guess that Maui is their favorite island, too. 😉

  2. Sheila, I have enjoyed your Hawaii 50 series, but haven’t had time to comment:-) My favorite thing about living on Maui was the arrival of the whales each year. They are so majestic and the people of Maui truly appreciate and celebrate them each year. Anyone who hasn’t visited Hawaii during whale season should do so!

  3. @ Kris – yeah, I didn’t know the speed either until I was researching this entry in the series. The other cool fact about their migration is that they rarely stop when they’re enroute to Hawaii. What endurance!

    @ Janice – I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the series! From all my trips to Hawaii, I’d have to rank whale watching pretty high on my list of the most amazing things I’ve witnessed.

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