Each winter there's an increase in visitors to the islands, Humpback whales, the State of Hawaii's official marine
mammal. From as early as September until as late as May, humpback whales can be seen in the near-shore
waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands and taking a Whale Watch Cruise is the best viewing spot in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary estimates that over 12,000 humpback
whales, two-thirds of the North Pacific stock, migrate to Hawaii each winter. From their feeding grounds in
Alaska, they cross 3,000 miles of ocean to reach their winter destination, which offers the promise of relaxation,
adventure and "romance." The primary activities that humpback whales engage in during their stay in Hawaii
include mating, birthing and nursing. Male humpbacks also spend their time competing with others for female
attention and perfecting their singing techniques.
A whale watching cruise can be an awe-inspiring experience from the water. Mothers can be seen teaching their
calves to breach, and males can be seen competing with one another in fierce head-to-head battles. The
underwater vocal stylings of male humpback whales can even be heard by divers, snorkelers and boaters. The
thrill of such encounters has fostered a strong love of humpbacks in the islands.
The average season for most Hawaii Harbor's whale watching cruises is December 15 - April 15th, some cruises
are only available January - March.