Big Island

Whale Season Returns to the Big Island: A Guide to Witnessing These Majestic Creatures

The Big Island of Hawaii welcomes back one of its most awe-inspiring natural events: Whale Season. This period, when humpback whales grace the warm Pacific waters for breeding and birthing, offers residents and visitors alike a chance to witness these majestic marine mammals in their natural habitat. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of the whale-watching season.

When is Whale Season?

Typically, whale season on the Big Island runs from November through May, with the peak months being January to March. During this time, the ocean becomes a playground for humpback whales, and the chances of spotting a whale breach are high. Today, I saw two whales playing in the water, officially starting the season with them breaching. So exciting!

whale tale out of the water in the ocean

Where to Watch

The Kohala Coast, with its clear waters and unobstructed views, is a hotspot for whale watching. Whether you prefer a guided boat tour or watching from the shore, there’s no shortage of vantage points. Some of my favorite places are Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Puako, and Mahukona Beach Park, which offer fantastic shoreline viewing opportunities.

Boat Tours vs. Shore Watching

For those looking for a closer encounter, boat tours provide an intimate experience with the whales. These tours are often led by knowledgeable guides who can share insights into the humpback whales’ behaviors and biology. On the other hand, shore watching is a more casual, flexible option that can be equally rewarding, especially during the end of the season (February, March) when you can see over 20 whales breach in a day!

Conservation and Respect

Please be mindful that these animals are safeguarded under legal statutes, and it is imperative to observe them with due responsibility. Ensuring a considerate distance is upheld not only guarantees the well-being of the whales but also the safety of onlookers. I would appreciate it if you could relay this essential information to your family, friends, and particularly to young ones under your care.

whale tale extended out of blue ocean water

Photography Tips

Capturing the perfect shot of a whale breach is a challenge but achievable with patience. Use a good zoom lens and a high shutter speed, and always be ready – these giants are full of amazing surprises!

The Economic Impact

Whale season also brings a significant boost to the Big Island’s economy, with eco-tourism flourishing during these months. Local businesses, from hotels to restaurants, benefit from the influx of visitors seeking the thrill of whale watching.

The return of whale season is a time of excitement and wonder on the Big Island. It’s a unique opportunity to engage with nature and learn about these incredible animals. Whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, the experience of watching humpback whales is an unforgettable one. Happy whale watching!

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