Every winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii. They spend several months, from December through March, here in the islands. They come to mate and give birth to their babies. They do not eat while they are here.
I could not wait for them to arrive! On December 15, which is the first day the whale watching cruises start to guarantee whale sightings, I dragged my boys up to one of the lighthouse lookouts here to wait and watch. They thought I was crazy, but we saw 4 whales from the shore that day! I think it's amazing that you can see them from the shore...
This weekend, we went on a whale watching cruise to get a bit closer to them. We saw lots of whales, and the naturalist told me that February is even better for sightings. I hear that they come even closer to the shore in Maui, so guess where we'll be next February??
We chose the Star of Honolulu's whale watching trip because they guarantee sightings. If you don't see a whale, you can go back for a free trip to try again. We went on the early morning cruise because it is significantly cheaper.... It turned out to be the right trip because there were many, many whales that morning!
Honolulu as we pulled out of the harbor:
Within minutes of leaving the harbor, we came across these two whales. They stayed by the boat for a long time, and we got quite close.
Waving at us!
We learned that humpback whales are baleen whales, and that all baleen whales have 2 blowholes. Each blowhole is attached to one lung. I had no idea! Toothed whales and dolphins have one blowhole that splits internally to access both lungs.
These people were parasailing and they got to go right over the whales. Oh, I want to do that!
Raising a tail as they dive:
This ended up being a pretty sightseeing tour too. Here is the Diamond Head Lighthouse:
After the whale watch, we went walking on Diamond Head Beach for the first time. It turned out to be a truly lucky day for animal sightings because we came across a Hawaiian monk seal sleeping on the beach. These are endangered seals, and I never thought we'd see one while we were here. They mostly stay on the less populated islands.
I'm in love:
This was a wonderful day out! If you come to Hawaii during the winter months, be sure to keep an eye out for whales!
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