My family and I enjoy much of the year at Poipu Beach undisturbed. You could even say that we monk seals rule the ocean surrounding Kauai most of the time. That is, until winter comes along. Whale season, as they call it – while a sheer joy to tourists – seriously cramps our style. Still, I understand that whale watching brings you and my other human friends much joy, so I’d like to give you a few tips on how to insure that whale season does not leave you disappointed.
First of all, plan your trip to Kauai during whale season. This may seem obvious, but whales typically visit Kauai (and other Hawaiian islands) during the low-tourist months from November-May when they migrate down from Alaska. During this time, a large portion of the Humpback Whale population will rest, breed, and nurse their young. What a place to spend maternity leave! Planning your trip during this time can save you money AND provide some serious wildlife experiences that summer tourists miss.
Secondly, choose an island that will offer great opportunities for whale sightings….like Kauai! Kauai (along with Maui and the Big Island) is known specifically for great whale sightings. Besides, in my humble opinion, the Garden Island is truly the most beautiful and adventurous of all the Hawaiian islands. Still, the Auau Channel that rests between Maui and Lanai also offers spectacular views of my fellow ocean friends.
Lastly, schedule your whale-watching adventure. Kauai offers plenty of boat tours that will take you and your crew out to where the Humpback Whales are resting so you can view them in their natural home. Most likely, you’ll get to see a whale come right up to the boat! They’re very curious creatures. Whales can also be sighted easily from the shore – just look for the plume of mist they let out when coming up for air. Our friends at Capt Andy’s recommend the view from Kilauea Lighthouse – a Kauaian historical landmark that has been beautifully restored. For a small entrance fee of $5 for adults (kids under 16 years old are free), the north shore view cannot be beat. Go here for driving directions.
It’s important to remember that my friends the Humpback Whales were at one time hunted and are now protected by the Endangered Species Act. Be sure to plan whale watching activities that are respectful of their space and environment; complete background checks on tour companies to make sure they do the same. I must say, these creatures are magnificent – at 40-50 feet long and 45 tons, they are surprising graceful, especially when they breach. Learn more about whale behavior here!