Watching whales in Hawaii

Watching whales in Hawaii is the most popular entertainment in winter months. The world population of humpback whales counts about 10-15 thousands of species. About a thousand of whales come to the warm waters of Hawaii at the end of November each year and then set back to the waters of Alaska.

Whales can be met near all islands of Hawaii, that is why many companies offer day and night whale watching tours on big ships and small boats. Most of the companies guarantee seeing whales.

This means that if during a tour you do not manage to see a whale, then a company will offer you another tour for free. Commonly a tour ticket includes snacks, a guide service.

The guide will tell you about whales and will answer your questions. Some companies offer you to listen to whales songs with the help of hydrophones.

A perfect way to meet hump-backed whales is a submarine tour. There is only one company offering submarine tours in Hawaii — the Atlantis Submarines. It offers services on Oahu. Maui and the Big Island.

Humpback whale

Humpback whales live in the Pacific Ocean and migrate from Alaska waters to the coasts of central California. The route of 5600km, depending on the speed of swimming, takes one or two months. An average speed of a whale is 4,8-14km/h, however in emergency cases these creatures can develop the speed of 24-26,5km/h.

The whales migrate in big groups with almost no stops on their way. These groups are not constant and each group exists only several days. However there is a constant connection between a mother and a whale calf. The arm waters of Hawaii are perfect for breeding if humpbacked whales. Whale pregnancy lasts 10-12 months.

Humpback whale belongs to the class of genuine whales and is the fifth large whale (after blue rorqual, razor back whale, coalfish whale and cachalot). Its length is about 10,6-15,8 meters and an average weight is about 30 tons. Female whales are somewhat bigger that male species. The heart of a humpback whale weighs over 195kg.

The scientific name of pacific humpback whale is Megaptera novaeangliae which was given to the creatures by German natural scientist George Borowsky in 1781. It translates from Latin as «big winged New-Englisher»: big winged due to a big whale’s fluke, and «new Englisher» due to the whales being once seen near the coasts of New England.

Beautiful singers

Humpback whales are unique mammals as they have astonishing unusual skills as singing. Whales sing many long songs, which are complex and beautiful. To some extent, their songs are still a secret for the science: nobody knows, why the whales sing and what their songs mean.

The male whales sing during mating season, however there are no direct evidences that they attract females in such a way.

Female whales are also able to produce song-like sounds. The duration of the song can be about 20 minutes and it can be heard from the distance of 32km. An astonishing fact is that the males of a single population sing similar songs and use the same patterns of behavior and sounds.

If with course of time the model of singing changes, then all males of the population will change their mode of singing. If the song changes, still all the males of whale population sing the same song.


Another skill of a hump-backed whale is the way they eat and hunt in groups: one whale submerges, pushing the air from a blowhole producing a cloud of bubbles. The fish get captured in the bubble trap. Other whales produce songs which scary and wilder the fish.

The third group of whales form a circle and pursue the fish to the surface where other whales will eat the fish.  During a day the whales can eat up to 1 ton of fish. However during their Hawaiian vacation whales do not feed.