Hawaii’s whale watching season is coming up quickly!


When is Hawaii’s Whale Watching Season?

Though most whale watching tours say December 15th to April 15th, whales have been spotted much earlier (this year in October) and much later.  The reason they choose 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.

humpback whales in Hawaii


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.

whale photography challenge

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 pod of whales

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.

Maui whale watching photos

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.”

underwater whale photography

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 draw a vast number of whales.

Hawaii Whale Breach

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 we’re talking about, please let us know! We’d love to see it and possibly share it here!

Maui whale watch

Mahalo and happy whale watching shooting!

(Dec 15th-Apr 15th)