Contest: Predict the first humpback whale sighting for 2013

humpback whale contest

As Autumn and Winter are right around the corner, it’s safe to say that thousands of humpback whales are making plans for their annual Hawaii vacation to give birth and breed. Some whales may even be en route from the Gulf of Alaska as we speak.

Though the humpbacks begin arriving in August, September and October, the peak season is from January to March, plus or minus a few weeks. The first humpback whale arrival triggers excitement around Hawaii. The season definitely makes Hawaii a special place to visit in winter months. Watching 40 ton whales leaping from the ocean and making a huge splash never gets old.

With last year’s first humpback arrival being the earliest on record, August 30, we’re not taking any chances with our annual contest for 2013. We’re posting the 2013 contest in early August instead of early September as we have done in years past.

To assist you with your prediction, we’re listing the first Hawaii humpback whale sightings in recent years:

2006 – October 11
2007 – October 7
2008 – October 8
2009 – October 20
2010 – October 20
2011 — September 26
2012 — August  30

The winner of the contest will receive this lovely, double-matted, 8″ x 10″, signed plumeria print by Hawaii artist Mike Carroll.

guess the whale arrival prize

Here’s how the 2013 contest will work:

  • Pick the earliest date you think the first whale sighting will be this year.  Enter your prediction in the comments for this blog post. (Sorry facebook friends, but this time only blog comments will be eligible. It’s easier for me to keep track of all the guesses in one spot here on the blog.)
  • The closest prediction without going over will win a prize.
  • You must use a valid email address so that I can contact you when/if your prediction is correct. Note that your email address will not be visible on the comment.
  • In the event of a tie, I will randomly select a winner from the tied predictions.
  • We’ll use Hawaii newspapers and news stations as our source to determine when the first whale has been seen this season.
  • One entry per person will be accepted.
  • Anyone from around the world is eligible to enter. One year our winner was from Milano, Italy.
  • Entries will be accepted through October 1, 2013.  In the event that the first whale sighting is before October 1, 2013, valid entries will accepted through the day before the reported sighting.

When do you predict Hawaii will have this year’s first whale sighting? Enter your prediction in the comments!

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. Hello Sheila,

    I would say I pick the 23rd August as the were moving along the Australian coast fairly early this year. I was lucky enough to see some whales off the coast of Byron Bay but also when I visited Tangalooma Island in the first week in July.

    Good luck to everyone else!


    • Quyana from Alaska!

      We’ve had a lovely “warmer than usual” summer and seems the whales were a bit later this year; especially where I was raised in the Eastern Aleutians, so I am choosing September 2.



    • Seeing my birthday is September 11th…I will choose this date for their arrival!

  2. September 22, 2013

  3. Deby Rake predicts September 2, 2013

  4. I am going to go with September 3/13

  5. I guess the 14th of September.

  6. Jeanette N. Edson

    going with labor day, Monday sept. 2
    Love this Carroll print.

  7. August 29th, 2013. Which I could be there to see it! Thank you, love the print!

  8. September 11, 2013

  9. Going against the recent grain and back with history…October 4th!

  10. September 24th

  11. I’m going with my anniversary date of October 12, we usually visit Hawaii then but have never seen a whale. I hope to some day.

  12. Cross my fingers and guess September 15th.

  13. September 27!

  14. I wanted to say September 27, but someone already said that date. So, I will say September 26. I’ll be there at the end of October/beginning of November, so I hope I see some then! : )

  15. Im going to go with August 30th……:)

  16. October 3, 2013

  17. I predict October 1 at 10:01am for the first 2013 whale sighting!

  18. My quess is August 17

  19. I predict the first whale sighting will be on Thursday, Sept 26 because on that day i will be in Kauai. My first visit to the islands.

  20. September 20th (Eight months from my 50th Birthday, which my husband and I will be celebrating on our first trip to Hawaii!!)

  21. Wish I could be there on September16th to see them! My son was stationed there – I know he misses Hawaii! Aloha!!!

  22. Sept. 14

  23. September 18th will be the lucky day! 🙂

  24. On my birthday – September 8th!

  25. My pick is October 9. My wife and I met and married in Hawaii 40 years ago – retiring soon & plan to spend more time in the islands.

  26. Barbara Tintisona

    My guess is…. The 4th September 2013.

  27. Barbara Tintisona

    My guess is: the 4th September 2013.

  28. Aleksandra Hojdas

    My guess is: the 5 th September 2013.

  29. Hi Sheila- Last year the August 30 arrival date was 3 months early and had to be a fluke (lol)…My sources have informed me that October 7th at exactly 8:23am HST the first Humpbacks will arrive off the Kona Coast! My sources are in Alaska and they are never wrong! 😉 rjs

  30. September 19th is my guess

  31. I’m going with Sept. 29 good luck everybody, and here’s to the whales!

  32. September 13,2013 –

  33. Well, my birthday, of course! October, 5th.
    But, I’ll be there in a few weeks, so I’d love it to be earlier!

  34. …sept. 13….aloha…

  35. My guess for the first humpback whale sighting in Hawaii is October 1st.

  36. Gotta be September 23rd.

  37. I’m going to pick my birthday, September 13. It can’t be that unlucky a number since a girl born on that day actually was lucky enough to have made it to Hawaii. Too bad 2013 isn’t going to be the year I visit there again but it will be soon.

  38. I say October 14. We will be ther next year in October for our 25th anniversary and wold LOVE to see a whale! Fingers crossed!!!

  39. Aloha! On my birthday 10/10!

  40. september 12

  41. I predict October 2nd.

  42. I will go with October 19th!!!!!!

  43. Love that print! I pick Sept. 30th.

  44. Beautiful work!!
    My prediction is October 22nd!

  45. I’m predicting September 24, my wedding anniversary! Can’t wait to see the whales in February!

  46. October 14th. My birthday. That would make a GREAT birthday gift.

  47. I think you will see them this weekeen, Sept 22

  48. Carrie Cote-Grindeland

    Im going with the day we will be leaving Hawaii, October 6

  49. My prediction is for October 16th, 2013 🙂

  50. My husbands birthday September 29!!!

  51. Aloha! Im predicting September 28th for the first sighting. That day is my Bday and it seems like a lucky day to spot the 1st whale! Thank you for the chance.

  52. September 24th…meow.

  53. October 24

  54. Aloha. I’m predicting October 4th. Good luck to everyone . Mahalo

  55. I am predicting October 19th.

  56. I predict the first sighting will be on August 26th

  57. I choose Oct 15. Hope to see for myself.

  58. I’m going to say October 11th, my father’s birthday. He’s going to be 82.

  59. I say October 1, 2013.

  60. September 23 would be a lovely day for them to arrive.

  61. Leaving for Oahu/Maui/Big Island in 3 weeks for my first trip. Prediction is October 18, 2013.

  62. October 17, 2013 is my guess.

  63. Oct. 16th! (sisters birthday)

    Love Plumeria flowers. Live in Montana now and miss them alot! Got to visit you this summer end of July. : ) Thank you for the news letter. Pulls on my Aloha heart strings.

  64. My friend who is a boat captain posted a picture of one today. Has there been another sighting yet?

  65. KHON and Hawaii News Now are both reporting the first whale sighting of the season for Saturday morning, October 5th, off Maui! Here’s a link to the KHON report.

    Now…..let me see who made the closest prediction, without going over!

  66. Two people guessed correctly. I wish I had two prints, but I only have one, so one of the two was randomly selected as the winner. I’ve emailed them and I’m awaiting their response.

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