Magic along the Maui Coastline

After our less than impressive whale watch with Pacific Whale Foundation last year (can anyone say, way too many people?), I was determined to find a company that would be our perfect fit. Last fall, I spent an evening scouring Trip Advisor reviews and then decided a catamaran tour with Trilogy Excursions would be exactly what we were looking for–a smaller group (around 40 guests instead of 140), a more personalized experience, and most of all, the opportunity to see humpback whales.

Trilogy boards their passengers right from Ka’anapali Beach, and as we boarded the boat, I never dreamed that we would witness so much whale activity that day… Simply stated, it was magical.

Trilogy Whale Watch

Not long after we left Ka’anapali Beach, we came across our first whales of the day: a mother and her calf. Most of the time when you see the mothers and calves, there is little surface activity going on–you will see some spouts, maybe a few fins, and tails as they take a dive, but it’s pretty calm. It always seems as though you will see a breach or a significant amount of whale activity off in the distance and once your catamaran arrives at their location, they become shy and reserved. (Not cool whales, not cool!) 😉

Maui Whale Watch

About an hour into our two-hour tour we happened upon a group of whales competing for a female. This was my first time encountering such an experience, and as the catamaran stopped 100 yards away (as required by law), I could barely sit still because of my excitement!

Five full-grown adult males were in a battle of dominance in order to impress the female that had caught their eyes. Imagine five school bus sized whales–close to 50 feet long and weighing almost 100,000 pounds–headbutting, tail slapping, and breaching, to exert their dominance over the competing whales.

Maui Whale Watch

Maui Whale Watch

Maui Whale Watch

whale1As you looked out across the water, you could see shadows darting under the smooth surface, and then, all of a sudden, you would hear the crushing blow of two adult whales as they headbutted each other, catapulting massive amounts of water into the air around them.

Maui Whale Watch

While we experienced quite the show at the surface, the competition continued underwater as well. It would be quiet for a few moments, and then without warning, whales would burst completely out of the calm surface and come crashing down, slamming their heads down on their competitor.

At times, you could even see the whales moving over another whale coming up for air (a bully move, according to Emily our whale expert).

Maui Whale Watch

Maui Whale Breach

This whale breached RIGHT off the boat! Look close and you will see barnacles on his chin. The barnacles fall off in warm waters, so that means this guy just got to Maui within the last few days.

Luckily for the whales (and for us, since I’m a softie when it comes to animals), this competition is not a battle to the death, it is only a battle to win dominance and to earn some quality time with the female.

The activity we witnessed that day was beyond our wildest dreams. It’s not every day that you are treated to such a breathtaking show, and for a two-hour tour we paid $44 each. It goes without saying, but it was worth every penny.

I’ll be back next year Trilogy, and I can hardly wait. Aloha!

Have you been whale watching?

33 Comments

  1. Hailee Weinstein
    February 2, 2015 / 5:02 PM

    I first found your blog a while ago trying to find that backpack somewhere online but now I find myself really enjoying your posts!

    • February 2, 2015 / 5:06 PM

      Hi Hailee,
      Thank you. That is so nice. 🙂 I’m happy to have you here and I’m really happy to hear that you enjoy the blog. Did you ever find a backpack?
      Aloha!

      • Hailee Weinstein
        February 12, 2015 / 5:09 PM

        I did not YET, but my family and I are heading to Maui this summer and then again for Thanksgiving so I will be keeping my eyes peeled!

  2. February 2, 2015 / 8:22 PM

    Wonderful blog with beautiful pictures

    What an experience that must have been for you

    I remember seeing a pod of dolphins in the moray firth in Scotland … Just diving in and out of the water, it was so emotional and beautiful watching them in the wild x

    • February 2, 2015 / 9:39 PM

      Hi!
      Thank you so much for the nice compliment. 🙂 Your experience sounds incredible. I too get emotional when I see animals in the wild. There’s just something magical about witnessing such a special moment. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals. 🙂

      • February 2, 2015 / 9:39 PM

        Mine too…. It’s my dream one day to swim with wild dolphin

        • February 2, 2015 / 9:45 PM

          I hope you get to accomplish that dream one day soon. 🙂 That would be AWESOME!

          • February 2, 2015 / 9:45 PM

            Me too xx

  3. February 2, 2015 / 8:42 PM

    Aloha Krystle,
    I’m glad you had such a good day. Great post – and GREAT pictures. I love watching the big guys.
    A Hui Hou,
    Wayne

    • February 2, 2015 / 9:40 PM

      Aloha Wayne!
      They are so amazing, aren’t they?! My favorite place to see them is along the NaPali coast… beautiful coastline, incredible animals, an afternoon on the boat… I don’t know if life gets much better. 🙂
      A Hui Hou.

  4. February 2, 2015 / 9:11 PM

    Trilogy was your best choice. Even local folk will recommend you use Trilogy. Glad to hear that the kohola cooperated and put on a show!

    • February 2, 2015 / 9:44 PM

      Well hello Maxwell. I should have asked you ages ago! 🙂 Next time, I will definitely make sure to reach out.
      I can completely understand why the locals recommend them, Trilogy No Ka Oi! Even without all of the whale activity, we truly enjoyed our experience. Hope you have a great day!

  5. February 3, 2015 / 12:40 AM

    Awesome pictures. When we visited Maui we did the nautilus (I think it was) submarine tour. To get to the sub we took a fast launch, a pod of dolphins accompanied us out.. It was magical. That’s for brightening up a dreary snowy uk day ?

    • February 3, 2015 / 3:08 PM

      Hi Tony,
      I’ve heard great things about the submarine tour. I don’t know if I could handle it because I’m claustrophobic, but it looks cool! 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. February 3, 2015 / 6:59 AM

    Sounds amazing. Whale watching is on my “list” -Puget Sound, I hope

  7. February 3, 2015 / 6:59 AM

    Sounds amazing. Whale watching is on my “list” -Puget Sound, I hope

    • February 3, 2015 / 3:09 PM

      Hi Tracy,
      I hope you get to cross it off your list soon. It’s incredible.

    • February 3, 2015 / 3:09 PM

      Hey Leigh,
      In all the times we’ve went whale watching I never expected to see those whales in that competition. It was SOOO cool! Maybe next year they will give us another good show! 🙂

    • February 3, 2015 / 3:10 PM

      Hey!
      I feel incredibly lucky to witness such amazing creatures out in the wild. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. February 4, 2015 / 11:48 AM

    Magnificent! What an amazing experience! When we took a ferry to Lanai from Maui, we saw a couple of whale tales shining in the sunshine, some spouting, flying fish, and dolphins, but nothing as spectacular like this! 🙂

    • February 4, 2015 / 2:17 PM

      Hey Kristina,
      Sounds like a great ferry ride! How long is the ferry from Maui to Lanai? I wish we would have seen dolphins on this whale watch… maybe next time!

      • February 4, 2015 / 2:24 PM

        It took around 20-30 minutes. It holds around 120 passengers, but luckily it wasn’t that busy that day, so we could move around and enjoy the view 🙂

  9. February 4, 2015 / 1:09 PM

    So glad you stopped by my blog . I see you are also writing about your Maui trip. I will add more insights when I get home and can write on my normal computer! Fyi I lived on the islands for 4 years and now try to come back every year or two.

    • February 4, 2015 / 2:17 PM

      Hi Alesia,
      Which island did you live on? I hope to live there one day 🙂 Maui is one of our favorites, we just can’t get enough of it. Aloha!

      • February 4, 2015 / 2:23 PM

        Oahu for 4 years. I am interested in living here too but I have 2 sons on the mainland I am quite fond of so not sure what I will do. I would live on Oahu hands down although I would island hop. I am a vet also so have had the opportunity to visit their beaches that are more secluded on Oahu and I love that! Look for a post or two this weekend. I will do a detailed post on the trip and maybe it will give you some ideas!

        • February 4, 2015 / 3:59 PM

          I will check them out. Aloha!

  10. Cody
    February 10, 2015 / 6:19 PM

    Such an amazing experience. My jaw was on the deck of the boat almost the entire time.

    • February 11, 2015 / 3:19 PM

      That whale that breached so close was incredible! 🙂 You took some great photos, next time we will have the go-pro charged! 😉 that video would have been AWESOME.

  11. May 4, 2016 / 11:32 PM

    Great photos. I have seen whales many times but they never breach!

    • May 6, 2016 / 8:12 PM

      I hope that you get to see them breach sometime soon! 😀 it’s incredible to see how powerful they are.

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