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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).
Gemini is a 64' catamaran, which sails daily from Ka'anapali beach. We offer year round snorkeling adventures, seasonal whale watches and sunset sails. Gemini is family-owned and operated. We are based out of Ka'anapali's Westin Maui Resort & Spa.
Ka'anapali Beach Resort Association is the destination marketing office for this world-renowned resort. We welcome you to peruse our website, where you will find a plethora of information about the resort along with links to our member properties.
CJM Country Stables invites you to mount up and join us on Kauai's magnificent South Shore for a memorable horseback ride.
Destination:The Fern Grotto. Historical cruise on the Wailua River is a journey into the Royal past. Boat captains share a bounty of history and legends in this sacred valley. The family of entertainers share songs of Hawaii. Family Business since 1946.
Turtle Bay is situated along acres of majestic coastline on Oahu's North Shore. Though the area is primarily known for its spectacular surf, two legends of golf - Arnold Palmer and George Fazio - have boldly chosen to leave their indelible mark as well. With 36 holes of championship golf, two complete practice facilities with professional instruction, and a restaurant as identifiable with North Shore surf culture as Pipeline itself (Lei Lei's), Turtle Bay beckons you.
Once at the Big Island Country Club, you’ll shift quickly into a relaxed and refreshed mindset as you leave the noise, traffic, deadlines, and fast pace of the big city behind.
ALL INCLUSIVE HAWAII VACATION PACKAGES to Waikiki Beach (Honolulu - Oahu), Maui, Kauai, & the "Big Island" of Hawaii.