In Search of Mammals Near Lanai

Humpback whale fluke off Lanai

When we stopped by the concierge desk at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay to learn what  ocean adventures were available, we immediately asked to book the Lana’I Mammal Search with Trilogy. With February being the height of Hawaii’s humpback whale season, we had our fingers crossed that we’d see some whale action – and that we did!

Within minutes of leaving the harbor at Manele Bay, the mammal sightings began. A large pod of spinner dolphins decided to come alongside the catamaran. Perhaps the dolphins were on a mammal search of their own as they seemed to have a curiosity of the people onboard.

Dolphins off Lana'i


From Manele Bay, we hugged the Lanai Coast as we headed towards Maui in the Auau Channel. This channel is prime humpback whale real estate.

Andy seemed to have his eyes especially focused on spotting whales as he was generally the first passenger to notice whale action. We saw lots of whale spouts, some dorsal fin slapping and the ending splash of a breach. We also saw a mother and calf dive lower as they simultaneous raised their fluke’s (tail) out of the water.

Humpback whale spouts (exhaling) off the coast of Lanai

Two Humpback Whale Spouts Off the Coast of Lanai

A crew member, Martin, dropped a hydrophone (underwater microphone) into the ocean. The hydrophone can pick up the sound of whale songs from up to three miles away. We did hear whales singing which was an incredible sound, but lets just say there’s a good reason that we never see humpback whales auditioning for American Idol. 😉

Humpback whale watching never, ever gets old. Even the crew members that see this activity on a daily basis were thrilled at whale sightings.

In the lulls of whale and dolphin activity, we enjoyed the views of Lanai and Maui from the water. We did get far enough along the western Lanai coast that we also got a brief peek at Molokai.

Lanai cliffs at Manele Harbor

Lanai Cliffs Near Manele Harbor

Though advertised as a jet drive raft adventure, we were actually pleased that the vessel was a smooth riding catamaran. This two hour excursion cost $80.37 per adult including taxes. The excursion included sodas and bottled water. If you are on Lanai between December and April, we recommend this mammal search from Lanai.

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.


  1. so cool! Loved the shot of Molokai. The whales are so interesting to see and hear!

    • Thanks, Janet.

      Sorry that the text is misleading. I should probably add captions now. The last shot is actually of Lana’i. Sorry about that!

      Good point about the whales being interesting to hear. They really are!

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