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Gracefully arcing. Playfully spouting. Awe-inspiring. These and so much more describe the scene that sends thousands upon thousands of tourists high-tailing it to Hawaii each season – to watch in wonder as the whales of the Islands make their way on a long journey.
Each year, like clockwork, Humpback whales migrate south, from Alaska, where they spend the summer months feeding on krill and small fish. At the end of summer, they make the long journey to the Hawaiian Islands, where they mate and give birth.
The height of Hawaii’s whale watching season is from late November to mid-April. Many people in the Islands actually see the whales’ return each year as more of a homecoming versus a mere visit – as the Humpback calves are actually born in Hawaii’s waters, making them “family” or “ohana” in the eyes of most locals. Some even believe that these lovely and powerful creatures are guardians over the Islands, and are therefore treated with the utmost respect and reverence.
There are many places to behold the amazing beauty of the whales, as they are known to travel in large groups, frolicking in the warm Hawaiian waters and entertaining spectators in all their spouting and swimming glory. Each Hawaiian island has its best viewing spots.
Oahu’s Makapuu Lighthouse, Halona Blowhole, Hanauma Bay and Diamond Head Park each offer exquisite vantage points to view these beauties. On Maui, Papawai Point is the unanimous pick for perusing for whales. The Big Island’s Lapakahi State Park is a great lookout point, as well as its Kapaa Beach Park. If you are vacationing on Kauai, cruise on over to Kilauea Point in hopes of capturing a photo or two.
And although one may venture out and come across random sightings solo, there are in fact numerous whale watching tours where you are almost assured a sighting in every excursion. There are several reputable all-inclusive tour companies across the Islands including the award-winning Wild Side Specialty Tours (www.SailHawaii.com
), among others.
So all ahoy for a whale of a good time on these tours! Just don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
by Andy Beth Miller