Go Visit Hawaii’s 9th annual contest to predict the season’s first humpback whale sighting

Though Hawaii’s exciting humpback whale season doesn’t “officially” start until December/January, some whales start their visit sooner. It’s quite possible that there are whales swimming towards Hawaii right now. So, it’s time to kick off our annual contest to predict the first humpback whale sighting of the 2018/2019 season!

Here’s how this easy and fun little contest works:

  • 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.)
    • When entering your comment, 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.
    • When entering your comment, you can leave the URL/website field empty. That’s an optional field.
    • Note: if you are a first time commenter, your comment will first go into moderation. It may take us up to 12 hours to approve it.
  • The closest prediction without going over will win bragging rights and the prize.
  • 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 Italy.
  • Entries will be accepted through September 15, 2018.  In the event that the first whale sighting is before September 15, valid entries will accepted through the day before the reported sighting.

For your reference, here’s a list of the first sighting in recent 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
2016 – August 25
2017 — October 10

In addition to bragging rights, this year’s prize is a lovely pack of cards inspired by flowers from Hawaii by artist Mike Carroll. They are designed as greeting cards,  but are also suitable for framing.

When will the first humpback be seen this upcoming season? Let’s hear your predictions!

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 Instagram.


  1. Gorgeous cards! Might have to buy some if I don’t win! My guess is Sept. 14

  2. My guess for the first whale sighting is October 26, 2018. Thank you!

  3. I guess October 14, my anniversary!

  4. My guess is Sept 20th

  5. September 19th 2018 is my assumption

  6. The whales appearance is forthcoming so I’ll say October 4th!

  7. Lets try September 24th

  8. My guess is Oct 3rd, 2018

  9. Kathleen Lelack-Green

    October 7, 2018

  10. My guess is October 13, 2018.

  11. Virginia Pennacchio

    September 29th

  12. September 13th🐳

  13. I’m going to guess September 28th, my youngest son’s birthday!

  14. First Humpback whale sighting will be September 21, 2018

  15. I’ll take October 12, my birthda.

  16. How about September 30th?

  17. My prediction for the first whale siting is September 21

  18. First whale sighting will be October 8

  19. October 26th.

  20. The majestic humpback whales will return October 5, 2018

  21. October 12th!

  22. My guess is October 12th.

  23. The Humpback whales will be back on September 28

  24. September 30, 2018

  25. September 6th for me!


    My guess for the first whale sighting is October 5, 2018. Thank you!

  27. I am guessing Sep 30, 2018 for the first whale sighting of the season!

  28. September 29 … 1 st whale sighting

  29. All contest entries are locked in now. No further guesses will be accepted as a contest entry.

    Now we wait for the whales to arrive. 🙂 Good luck!

    • According to Ultimate Whale Watch, Maui, Trilogy Excursions, Captain Seth, spotted the first Humpback Whale on 10/4 – the PWF spotted the whale on 10/8.

      • Yes, we were aware of that.

        As we state in the contest rules, “We’ll use Hawaii newspapers and news stations as our sources to determine the first whale sighting of this season.” We searched daily for any news sources reporting the Trilogy sighting, but unfortunately none occurred. The Pacific Whale Foundation sighting was the only one picked up by the news.

  30. The first whale of the season has been spotted near Maui on October 8! Here’s a link to one of the news stories https://www.khon2.com/news/local-news/first-humpback-whale-spotted-in-hawaiian-waters-this-season/1508838827

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