December Through May
This is the time of year that humpback whales make the journey from Alaska to Hawaii to mate and give birth. Did you know that whale calves may gain up to 100 pounds a day from nutrients in their mothers milk, even though adult whales don't eat at all during their stay in Hawaiian waters. Because of the devastation wreaked in the whale population by the whaling industry ( beginning in the early 1800s), whales have struggled to increase their numbers. Today there are all sorts of regulations in place to protect the whales that winter off Maui's shores. The use of jet skis and parasails have been prohibited during whale season. All vessels are required to maintain a 100 yard distance from the whales.
What To Expect on a Small Vessel Tour
Our ocean rafts are smaller and some times a whale will swim in our direction in which case we shut down the motors and drift until the whales depart. Our rafts take small groups and are far less intrusive than some of the larger "cattle cars" out there. Our smaller vessels must seem more approachable and whales often come right up and take a look at us.This is often the best part of a whale watch. Sometimes they pass right below the boat and you get a real feel for their gigantic school bus sized bodies. Our rafts are also super low profile, this means you can dip your camera in the water and easily get great below the surface pictures and viseos. Each seat is a front row seat, if a whale decides to spy hop next to our boat you will be mere feet from the gentle giant.
Whale Watching Season is Also High Season
The humpbacks are a part of the Maui seascape every year between December and May. If you plan to visit the islands this winter you really must go on a whale watching tour. Keep in mind that this also high season here on Maui. You should try to book well in advance. Booking in advance will save you the stress of trying to find a tour once you get here. Sometimes if you wait to long the only option left is the larger vessel and larger crowd tours. The "cattle car" tours often leave you feeling removed from the experience. Hawaii Ocean Rafting is consistantly ranked in the top 10 for whale watching tours, and we are one of th only operations to specialize in small groups. Take a few minutes as you plan you vacation and secure a whale watch or two. If you book directly through our website you will save %15 off of our already unbeatable prices.