Humpback whales come to Hawaii to breed between December and May, according to GoHawaii.com, a migration that makes whale watching a popular choice for BYU-Hawaii students.
“Kailua is a good place to go,” said Cheyenne Leiataua, a junior social work major from Hauʻula. “You can see a lot at the beach right under the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. It’s a really wide and expansive beach so it’s easy to spot whales.”
Popular hikes turn into prime whale watching locations this time of year, according to GoHawaii’s website. Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Trail can also all be used as places to spot whales.
Whale watching options on the North Shore are limited because whales are more drawn to the leeward side of the island, according to Hawaii.com. However, Spencer Serrao, a freshman from Mililani studying accounting, said he’s whale watched at Laie Point. “It has to be a clear day and during the right time of year, but they definitely come through that area. I’ve seen a few there,” he said.
To ensure whale sightings, several businesses in Honolulu have boat tours. Tor Johnson, a trip advisor, wrote, “Among some of the top tour picks are aboard the Star of Honolulu or with Tradewinds Charters (both of which depart from Waikiki), as well as accompanying Dolphin Excursions on their whale watching jaunts from Waianae.”
North Shore Catamaran Tours in Haleiwa also offer whale watching, along with snorkeling and sailing. According to their website, tours are offered in the morning and evening, and cost $80 per person. Their website describes the experience as “the best whale watching on Oahu because of its personalized attention, uncrowded boat, and fun and informative crew. During whale watching season, the ocean boils with activity from the humpback whales and marine life.
“The whales do not get frightened or disturbed by our boat because most of the time we are under sail. When we do motor, the small outboard engines are very quiet and unobtrusive. Our underwater hydrophone lets you hear the singing, clicking and moaning that goes on between the groups of humpbacks. It is a truly amazing experience!”
West Maui is known as the best place to observe whales anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands, according to GoHawaii. The Hawaii humpback whale government website provides lookout spots in Maui known to yield the most sightings, such as Papawai Point and Kehi.