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Adult males range from 40 to 52 feet and can weigh up to 45 tons. Despite their size, humpback whales are graceful acrobats. Keep your eye on the ocean and you might see one breach, propelling up to 40 percent of its body out of the water and landing on its side with a spectacular splash.
Whales have great cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. They play a large role in Hawaiian legend—including one creation story—and appear in ancient petroglyphs on several islands. The return of the kohola (humpback whale) is considered more of a homecoming than a visit. Humpback whales are born in Hawaiian waters, making them kamaaina (native born). Some Native Hawaiians also believe the whales are aumakua (family guardians), so these gentle giants are treated with great respect.
Cultural Significance of Whales in Hawaii
Although humpback whales can be seen from all of the Hawaiian Islands, the shallow Auau Channel between Maui, Molokai and Lanai is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world.
What's the Best Way to See Whales?
You may also spot kohola from the southern shores of Oahu, especially at Makapuu Lighthouse and along the seaside overlooks near Leahi (Diamond Head).
Kauai offers a range of whale-viewing opportunities, including Poipu Beach on the South Shore, Kilauea Lighthouse on the North Shore and Kapaa Overlook on the island’s Coconut Coast.
On the island of Hawaii, whales are often seen along the shores of the Kohala Coast, as well as Hilo Bay on the east side of the island. The Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site is another great viewing spot, with its sweeping, elevated views near Kawaihae Harbor. In fact, Puukohola literally means “hill of the whale” in Hawaiian.
Boat tours may be your best option for viewing whales up close. Hawaii has dozens of tour operators, including a few that lead kayak excursions—a thrilling way to experience these majestic mammals.
In respect for the kohola and the safety of sightseers, all watercraft must stay a minimum of 100 yards from the whales, but you'll be surprised how close you feel when a 45-ton behemoth lunges out of the sea. If a boat tour is not for you, the whales’ impressive acrobatic displays are often visible from miles away. If you're on land, keep a pair of binoculars handy because you never know when you'll see a humpback’s spout (which can be 10–20 feet tall).
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Swell Bar, located next to our stunning infinity pool, is an unrivaled destination with the best Happy Hour Honolulu offers. Sip cocktails by the pool, grab a seat at the bar or reserve one of our private cabanas for a half-day, full day or evening.
Enjoy a refreshing tropical libation or casual snack at this poolside bar. For added convenience, The Ocean Bar offers pool and beach-side service. Pupus, Cocktails.
First there was Surfer the magazine. Now there’s Surfer the bar – except it’s more than a bar, it’s a true original, located in the flashpoint of global surfing, Oahu’s legendary North Shore.
Enjoy cocktails and a light bistro menu in this beautiful open air restaurant. Featuring signature cocktails, such as The Tropical Itch, served with your very own wooden back scratcher.
Professional scuba facility featuring PADI, NAUI, SSI & TDI certifications. New Nitrox program. Hawaiian clothing beach wear. 1 hour photo.
Overlooking the sparkling pool with commanding views of the ocean, The Lounge is located in the lower lobby area and offers an unforgettable setting for guests to enjoy sunset cocktails and after dinner drinks and live entertainment.
Named after Hawaii’s brilliant red Lehua blossom, this elegant island lounge is nestled among waterfalls and features handcrafted cocktails, gorgeous views of Mokapu Beach and small bites of farm-to-table cuisine.
CJM Country Stables invites you to mount up and join us on Kauai's magnificent South Shore for a memorable horseback ride.
Start your day with a fresh cup of Kaua'i coffee, steaming latte, hot-from-the-oven breakfast pastry and other breakfast goodies at Kaua`i Marriott Resort's Aupaka Terrace.