Anyone who climbs aboard a vessel this time of the year and heads for the open ocean off O‘ahu can expect to see humpback whales. There are so many of them that most boat companies don’t hesitate to guarantee sightings.
Every year, humpback whales swim 3,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to mate and calve in Hawai‘i’s clear, warm waters. Protected under endangered species laws, the humpback population is growing. In fact, an estimated 10,000 humpbacks are expected to cruise through Hawai‘i’s waters this season, coming and going at their own pace.
Humpbacks exhibit a variety of behaviors that should be visible in one form or another from boats and shoreline lookouts. You might see a whale blow, which refers to the act of breathing and the cloud of water vapor produced above the animal’s head during the process of exhalation. You might see a tail slap, a pectoral slap or — if you’re lucky — a breach. This watery pirouette occurs when a whale propels itself out of the water, generally clearing the surface with two-thirds (or more) of its body.
Then, in an amazing feat of marine gymnastics, the animal will throw one pectoral fidn out to the side, and turn in the air about its longitudinal axis. Whales do not technically spout water. Actually, they are letting out air through a blowhole at 300 miles per hour.
There are many ways to observe a humpback whale in the wild. Snorkel cruises are a good bet, and powered rafts and fishing boats also travel humpback territory. ATLANTIS ADVENTURES offers several whale-watch cruises, with guaranteed sightings or the return cruise is free.
Shore), and Lanikai Beach on the Windward side of the island. NANI KAI OCEAN ADVENTURES 808-690-3475