Hawaii’s whale-watching season is coming up quickly!


When is Hawaii’s Whale Watching Season?

Though most Hawaii whale-watching tours say December 15th to April 15th, whales have been spotted much earlier (sometimes in October) and much later (sometimes into May).  The reason they chose these dates is for guaranteed sightings.  If you’re looking for the best time to see whales, take a tour in January, FEBRUARY, or March.

Whale Watching Season Tail Slap Water


Whale Photography Challenge:

The Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the best whale watching in the world!  This year we’d like to challenge photographers to capture 2 whales breaching at once.

Hawaii Whale Watching Breaches

We’ve seen images of 2 whales breaching at the same time, though it’s usually a weaker breach by a calf with its mother. We’d love to see a powerful, explosive breach by 2 large whales at the same time. This would be easiest to capture when being mugged by a competition pod of whales.


Competition Pods

A competition pod is when multiple male whales compete for the affection of 1 female in order to mate. It’s quite a sight to watch these magnificent whales battle above and below the water.

Hawaii Whale Watching Following


Whale Sightings Around Maui

Whales tend to hang out in the Maui County area and you can catch a glimpse of whales on just about any ocean activity during whale season. We have seen whales while kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing, on the ferry to Lanaʻi, and while hanging out on the beach. February is typically when we see the most activity and during that month it is pretty much a guarantee you will see some activity anytime you look out to sea. This is also a nice time to take a Maui sunset cruise, a Molokini snorkeling tour, a kayaking adventure, or a scuba trip as you will have the added bonus of whale sightings while you do another activity at the same time. Buy one ocean tour, and get some whale watching for free!

Hawaii Whale Watching Sightings


We Got Mugged!

Being “Mugged” is the term used when whales surround your boat for a long duration of time. Because of the danger from the boat’s propeller(s) around Humpback whales, Maui County Law demands that all boats stop their boats within 100 yards of whales. Sometimes you’ll get an extra-long whale-watching cruise because of this.  That being said, humpbacks often come right up the boat once the engine is off, hence the “mugging.”

Hawaii Whale Watching Mugging


Can you find whales near all of the Hawaiian Islands?

We’re partial to whale watching within Maui County.  Though the other islands see their fair share of whales, there’s something about underwater, shallower topography created between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai that draws a vast number of whales.

Hawaii Whale Watching Activity


What is the best way to see whales up close?

When you do go whale watching, there are many options for Maui whale watch tour boats.  It’s hard to recommend one without knowing your age and comfort level but for the adventurous photographer looking to shoot up close, try a rafting trip.  For the extra adventurous, check out the kayak whale-watching video below shot by Natalie Brown.  For those who want more room to move around or have young children, try one of the large Maui catamarans.  Boats depart from Makena, Kihei Boat Ramp, Maalaea Harbor, and Lahaina Harbor.


If you do manage to get the picture of 2 whale breaches at once, or any other great shots you would like to share, please let us know! We’d love to see it and possibly share it here!

Hawaii Whale Watching Tour Photos


Mahalo for reading! We are hoping this will be the best year yet for Hawaii whale watching.

Happy shooting!

(Dec 15th-Apr 15th)