Go Visit Hawaii’s 7th annual contest to predict the season’s first humpback whale sighting in Hawaii

7th annual humpback whale contes

Start tuning into your humpback whale senses and skills…it’s time for our favorite contest of the year! Check your sources 😉 or just pick a random date of the first sighting of this upcoming season.

Before we get into the simple details of the contest, let’s go over some useful facts about humpback whale migration to Hawaii:

  • Thousands of humpback whales migrate to the safe, warm waters of Hawaii to breed and give birth.
  • Their journey from Alaska to Hawaii takes one to two months.
  • The “official”season for humpback whales in Hawaii is January through March, with February being the peak month. If you are visiting Hawaii in December or April, you may also see humpback whales then, particularly if you are visiting Maui.

So, why are we launching this contest in August when the heart of the season doesn’t start until January? That’s because there’s always a whale or two (or more) who apparently don’t have calendars 😉 and arrive earlier. (Who can blame them for wanting to get to Hawaii sooner?!) Here’s a list of the first recorded humpback whale sightings for the past 10 years:

2006 – October 11
2007 – October 7
2008 – October 8
2009 – October 20
2010 – October 20
2011 — September 26
2012 — August  30
2013 — October 5
2014 — September 16
2015 — September 29

Here’s how the 2016 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, but we can’t accept guesses emailed to us or comments on Facebook. If you are reading this article on email, go to this post page to enter your comment.)
  • The closest prediction without going over will win bragging rights and book of humpback whale facts.
  • You must use a valid email address so that we 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, we will randomly select a winner from the tied predictions.
  • We’ll use Hawaii newspapers and news stations as our sources to determine the first whale sighting of this season.
  • One entry per person will be accepted.
  • Anyone from around the world is eligible to enter. We have a two-time winner from Milano, Italy.
  • Entries will be accepted through September 15, 2016.  In the event that the first whale sighting is before September 15, valid entries will accepted through the day before the reported sighting.

This year’s prize is the book 125 Fun Facts About Humpbacks by Paul Forestell and Gregory Kaufman.

FullSizeRender (17)

So, now it’s time to enter your prediction for the first sighting in the below comments. Have fun and good luck!

This contest is now closed. The first humpback was sighted on August 25 near Lahaina, Maui.

28 comments
  1. I’m guessing earlier this year. Here in Ak it’s already Fall looking/feeling…September 18 Tons of whales this year~ such a beautiful site!

  2. I am guessing it happened yesterday on August 25!!!!!! Read more on Pacific Whale Foundations Page. I happened to be working on boat that spotted it. Sadly the whale wasn’t in a great way but it certainly was in Maui waters and this has been confirmed by many sources.

    1. Thank you for alerting us Annelise!

      It’s so sad to read that the whale isn’t well. Is there any hope that the whale can receive any care?

      1. Hard to say… The NOAA Marine mammal crew was on the scene but i won’t lie it looked rather bleak.. There’s a chance the whale never actually left as it looked rather thin and had other concerning health issues. They’re currently trying to find and track it

  3. Thanks to Annelise for letting us know of her first hand experience of seeing the first humpback whale of the season! It was spotted on August 25th!

    Congratulations to our winner Kathy Anderson who guessed September 16!

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