Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit all year around, and for my husband and I, we have always traveled to those beautiful islands during the summer. From sailing, surfing, ziplining, hiking, helicopter rides, and snorkeling, there was one adventure that continued to elude us during our trips: Whale Watching.
Whale season in Hawaii is from December to April. Whales migrate from Alaska to the warm tropical waters near Hawaii in order to give birth and to breed. If the baby whales (called calves) were delivered in the cold waters near Alaska they would die from hypothermia soon after birth.
The last time that my husband and I visited Maui we promised each other that our next trip to Hawaii would be during the whale migration. So while planning our Christmas vacation, it was no surprise that the first excursion we booked was Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventure. A five-hour sail along the breathtaking NaPali coast with dinner and drinks. The highlight of the sailing trip is not only the majestic NaPali coast (the prettiest place in the world, in my opinion) but also the very reason why we made a special trip during this time of the year: the Humpback Whales.
That day we realized whale watching is a lot like snipe hunting. Never been snipe hunting? Well, disregard that comment… 😉 Whale watching also involves a lot of ocean and horizon watching. However, the moment that you see your first glimpse of a Humpback whale is a moment you will never forget! A whale spout, a whale fin, a whale tail, any glimpse of these amazing (and massive) creatures leaves you wanting to hold your breath in hopes of seeing more. We first saw a whale spout, and then the dorsal fin of two different whales. Not long after, we saw the tail of a whale as it took a deep dive into the depths below.
The one word that describes our sail that day is, magical. The majestic coastline, the nostalgia of going on the very cruise we were engaged upon three and a half years before, the beautiful weather, and the whales.
As the sun began to set, we noticed that the whales became more active. We saw more whale fins (it looked as though they were waving at us) and whale tails, and we saw the number of whales increase around us. As I took pictures of the nearby island of Niihau, I saw it… a whale propelled itself out of the water and breached. With a quick turn in the air, the whale splashed down on its back and the only thing that was left was a big splash (and a big smile upon my face). The captain quickly came on the intercom and said it had been a baby whale.
I couldn’t believe it! I had just seen a baby whale breach!
On our ride back to Port Allen we listened to some laid back tunes (including my favorite, Jack Johnson) and drank a Hawaiian Rum cocktail the crew called, “sneaky-tikis”. Off in the distance, we saw a pod of spinner dolphins swimming near a mother and her calf. Gazing out over the horizon, whale spouts could be seen all over. I would have given anything to pause time for a moment in order to observe the whales and their behaviors.
As we neared the port I noticed a small boat sitting in the water. It wasn’t moving, it was just sitting there. I kept my eye on the boat as I figured the only reason a boat would be sitting idle in the ocean is because a whale is nearby. As we passed the boat, a massive 45-ton whale came bolting up out of the water. Another breach!! Fellow passengers screeched with delight as one could have only hoped to see such a sight. Quickly after the whale fell back below the horizon, another similar sized whale breached in the same spot! I couldn’t believe it!! The small boat had a front row show to the amazing spectacle that unfolded before our eyes.
We pulled into the harbor that evening feeling lucky. Knowing that the sights we witnessed are seen by few and dreamed of by many. Those hours along the NaPali coast were simply magical.
I can’t wait to go again…