From December- March every year, the number of visitors on Kauai usually rises along with the whale population. Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from Alaska in late Fall and begin their return trip to their Alaska feeding grounds until March or April. However, humpback whales are not the only whales present in Hawaiian waters.
Below you’ll find some information on different types of whales that make their presence felt and bring joy to the visitors during the whale watching season, we, at Kauai Sea Tours, have decided to compile the list of whales you might spot during the whale watching season.
By far the most common whale sightings in Hawaii are the aforementioned Humpback whales. They come to Hawaii every year to mate, give birth and play in the warm tropical waters. As mentioned previously, they are seasonal inhabitants; however, they do make a fantastic return every year to mate, give birth, and enjoy the warm tropical waters.
Even though Humpback whales can be easily located in Kauai, they are usually most populated in the Maui Nui Basin, situated between Molokai and Lanai Kaho-olawe, and Maui. It is quite shallow and provides reef areas that serve as safe and secure nurseries for mother humpback whales giving birth or with their young. But fear not- Kauai Sea Tours knows where our Humpback guests are and finds them a high percentage of the time.
Melon Headed Whales
Even though NOAA estimates there are almost 3,000 Melon Headed whales the chances of seeing one is slim.
That’s because the Melon Haded whales are deep divers, and while they will spend ample time on the surface, they tend to congregate over offshore water that is many thousands of feet deep. Since the immediate waters around Kauai are relatively shallow—rarely exceeding 300 ft.—the only chance of seeing Melon Headed whales would likely be during a mass stranding, an occurrence which has happened in the past on Kaua‘i and is potentially linked to US Navy testing.
Nevertheless, consider yourself lucky if for some reason you ever encounter these whales; the average pod size is over 300 whales, with as many as 800 reported!
Blue whales are one of the most rare whales to be sighted in the beautiful waters of Hawaii. The majority of the confirmations are not sightings but sound recordings of their songs (their call is the loudest animal sound in the world) around the islands over the course of the year.
Blue whales are endangered and, in the 1900s, were targeted by commercial whalers. It is estimated that there are only around 12,000 – 24,000 blue whale in the entire world, which is less than ten percent of the population that was present in the early 1900s. But thanks to the reduction in commercial whaling, the blue whale population is slowly increasing every year. These whales are absolutely gigantic (around eighty feet long and weighing around 300,000 lbs).
Some of the most interesting facts about blue whales are that they gain 200 lbs a day feeding on their mother’s milk, their babies are born 26 feet long, and their hearts are 5 feet long.
Other Whales (and toothed-whales)
Sperm whales, Short-finned pilot whales, Dwarf Sperm whales, Pygmy Killer Whales and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales are also present in Hawaii. The majority of them live offshore, so they can only be seen during the whale watching season. All these types of whales vary in population, colors, and sizes; however, all of them require our support and protection.
To experience the majesty of these creatures up close, come join us for our whale watching tours and make some new unforgettable memories.