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Advice From a Local: Maui Whale Watching Tips

Posted: Jan 20, 2016

 TIPS FOR YOUR MAUI WHALE WATCHING TRIP

1. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED AND YOUR NECK ON SWIVEL

maui whale watching failBe patient and be READY! We have a joke we always tell on our boat, “You know how long a whale can stay underwater? Five seconds longer than the human attention span!” It always gets a laugh, but it is SO true. The minute you look away (like down at your cell phone... put that thing away!), you’ll hear the exclamation from your seat mate and whip your head around just in time to see the splash that follows the awesome whale breach that just happened. So, stay patient, ready, and limber!

2. HECK YEAH, BRING YOUR CAMERA!

For a better chance at good whale photos, aim ahead of the whale you just saw. In other words, aim your camera in the direction the humpback whale seems to be heading. Time and again, we see whale watchers fixate on the footprint left behind by the whale (I’m referring to the smooth area on the water’s surface, left behind after a whale dives down). Yes, the whale may change direction, but chances are good it'll stay on course. Whale watch crews often have an instinct for behavioral patterns as well, so pay attention to where the captain has focused his attention.

maui whale watching 2016

3. GET SMARTER

Learn a little something before or during your trip. When you know what’s going on out there and why, it makes the experience even more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the captain or crew. It's safe to say that these folks who get to see whales daily will have an abundance of knowledge they’re just dying to share with you. This one’s a twofer; you’ll make the crew feel smart, and you get to learn a little something too! Here’s a question for you: do you know where the humpback whales we see in Maui are from? No, not Alaska, silly! They are from Maui (or Hawaii). They are created here and born here. They go to Alaska to eat (it’s cheaper there).

4. STAY WARM AND DRY

Bring a windbreaker and wear clothing you won’t mind getting wet. When you’re out on the ocean, the wind can come up at any moment and ocean spray can be chilly. Or, maybe a whale will exhale near you and you’ll get to bask in that. Eeeeuuuw! Either way, being prepared to experience the elements will make you that much more comfortable.

5. BE A WHALE SCOUT

Use the boat as a clock – does anyone remember analog? The bow is 12:00, the stern is 6:00 and you know the rest. Use times when calling out whale sightings (“whale at 3:00!”) or at least to know which way to look when someone else does. Maui whale watching is a great chance to show some aloha.  Don't be shy about shouting out about spouts, tail slaps, and breaches!

6.  CREATE A MEMORY ON YOUR MAUI VACATION

Take a moment to let it all sink in and appreciate what you’ve just seen, heard, and felt. Whether you get to witness a mother whale teaching her newborn to breach, a spy hop from a curious escort whale, or the vigorous pushing and shoving that happens among members of a competition pod, getting to see these creatures up close and personal is an amazing experience, and one that most people on earth will never get the opportunity to enjoy. But YOU just did!

maui whale breaching

7. LISTEN UP!

Would you ever watch your favorite show on mute? We bring our hydrophone on all of our Maui whale watching trips.  This allows you to listen to the whales sing as we drift along. Do you think they’d mind that we call some of their verses “squeaky door”, “the wookie”, and “screaming monkey”?   Seriously, there's no better way to enjoy a Maui whale watch. 

8. MAKE IT HAPPEN

The sunset and the whales go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Maui whale watching lines up maui whale tailperfectly with the cooler winter months, so from January through March, we offer daily sunset whale watches, starting at 4:00 (“Whales at 4:00!”). Our boat, the Maui Diamond II, caps our whale watches at just 16 passengers even though our vessel is rated for 24 people. This allows everyone plenty of room to move around, aim their cameras, and enjoy the whales.  Click here or call us directly at 808-874-5332 to book your whale watch with us; you’ll be glad you did.

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