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From December to May, you may catch a glimpse of a majestic koholā (humpback whale) off the island of Hawaiʻi's shorelines. These gentle giants come to the warm Hawaiian waters every year to breed and give birth to new calves. Seeing one of these 40-ton, 40-foot long giants breach the water is an unforgettable sight.
Schedule a tour or charter a boat to spot these magnificent creatures. Treat yourself to scenic ocean views as guides take you to the best spots to observe whales playfully surfacing, tail slapping, or blowing spouts in the air. Regulations prohibit boats from approaching within 100 yards of a whale and you should never swim with or touch whales or any other marine mammals.
You can also spot whales from the island of Hawaiʻi’s beautiful beaches along the Kohala coast. The Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site is an excellent site to see whales, with sweeping, elevated views near Kawaihae Harbor. In fact, Puʻukoholā literally means “hill of the whale” in Hawaiian. On the east side, Hilo Bay is another place popular for whale sightings. Other species of whales are attracted to Hawaiʻi’s warm, shallow waters year round, so wherever you travel on the island of Hawaiʻi, keep your eyes open for these marine visitors.