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Maui Whale Watching Insights

Some of the best whale watching in the world is located on our beautiful island of Maui. The waters surrounding Maui become a whales playground every winter (December through May). Thousands of humpback whales travel from the cold waters of Alaska down to the warm Hawaiian waters to breed, calve and nurse their young ones. Maui has a front seat in witnessing these magificient creatures, due to the shallow waters within the Auau Channel (located between Maui, Molokai and Lanai). 

Many people come to Maui with a list of things they want to do during their vacation. Snorkeling Maui is an item at the top of many visitors lists. One of the great things about taking a Molokini snorkeling tour on the Four Winds II, is that you will be able to check more than one item off your list, all in one, or what we like to call, a “twofer”. Enjoy the best snorkeling in Maui and snorkel Molokini on a glass bottom boat. Experience some of the best whale watching on the way to your snorkel destination.  

History on Whaling and Hawaii

Not only was Lahaina the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845, but it was also the center of whaling in Hawaii. In 1845, the capital moved to Honolulu. During 1820 to 1845, Lahaina was known as the the Pacifics top whaling port. Whaling ships (responsible for hunting the sperm whales for whalebone, but mainly for the oil from the whale blubber) anchored in Honolulu and Lahaina. The impact of whaling vessels within Hawaii shaped the Hawaiian economy and was the primary source of income for the islands until about 1854. Whalers were hunting thousands of whales each year and was headed towards extinction. Luckily today we have laws that protect the whales, which has helped increase the population in Hawaii.

Captains would often anchor in Lahaina and preferred this over Honolulu, due to the easy access of the Lahaina roads and the fresh food options (many sailors who had been at sea for months would stay here to drink and mingle with the ladies).

Resource Protection of the Humpback Whales

Federal regulations prohibit approaching humpback whales (by any means) within 100 yards (90 m) when on or in the water, and 1,000 feet (300 m) when operating an aircraft. These regulations apply to all ocean users, year-round throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Regulations are in place to protect humpback whales in the sanctuary and also apply anywhere within Hawaiian waters per the Endangered Species Act. Enforcement of these regulations are coordinated by the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) and the NOAA Office of General Counsel.

Activities Prohibited in the Sanctuary

(1) approaching, or causing a vessel or other object to approach, within the sanctuary, by any means, within 100 yards of any humpback whale except as authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as amended;

(2) operating any aircraft above the sanctuary within 1,000 feet of any humpback whale except when in any designated flight corridor for takeoff or landing from an airport or runway or as authorized under the MMPA and the ESA;

Whale Watching is Dependent on Nature

It is impossible to guarentee spotting of marine life in the wild, due to weather conditions and nature. Just like any wild animal, they have a mind of their own. Our captains do their best to try and find whales during your Maui Whale Watch tour excursion, and believe me, whale watching never gets old to them! We have captains that have been working on our boats for over 30 years, and still, every whale season is like Christmas day.

Whale Songs

What exactly is a whale song? A whale song is a pattern of predictable sounds that are created by whales. These predictable sound patterns actually resemble notes of a song. Music composers are in awe of the melodies that are created by these amazing animals.

Blue whales are also known for producing these melodies, but for humpback whales, these songs are only seen in the males during mating season. It is believed that the whale songs produced  communicate the males youthfulness, health and are used to attract a mating partner.



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