Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maui: Whale Watching Jan 11 2012

It turns out there are 20-25,000 humpback whales in the north pacific ocean and 80% of them migrate to the islands of Hawai'i for mating and birthing their calves and a general respite from the frigid north atlantic winters. The sheltered waters around the islands of Maui - Molokaʻi - Lānaʻi - Kahoʻolawe are the winter home of many of these 40-50 ton mammals.

Fran and I went out on a tour with a total of 18 people on a small, rigid hull, inflated side wall boat. It had two 225 HP Evenrude's behind it and it could top out at 50 mph. I was worried about motion sickness but it turns out ... two hours on calm seas is about my pace and I felt fine. I took some dramamine prior to the trip just in case.

We used our old (five years) camera and it did not have the responsiveness needed to catch the whales as the lifted out of the water but we were able to catch a few pictures.

Our first whale was a juvenille that our guide estimated to be about a year old. We stayed near the juvenille for over an hour watching it breach the water on several occasions and regularly slapping the water with flukes and tail. Later in the two hour tour we found ourselves within 100-150 yards of five whales although by far our younger whale was the most active. We did have one of the older whales breach the surface and that was quite a spash but for the most part they just wanted to float and play on the surface.

In the evening we ate at Hula Grill - Kaanapali. Fran booked the reservation through her smart phone on "Open Table". Hula Grill is located in Whalers Village and overlooks the water ... the food and service were great. We spent quite a bit of time walking through the shops and along the waterfront.

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