2023 Humpback Whale Watching Season In Full Swing


Humpback whales make their annual journey to Hawaii between the months of November and April (whale season).

The islands of Hawai’i , Moloka’i, Maui, and Kauai are great for watching these majestic beasts.

Humpback Whale Facts

  • Humpback whales are known by natives as kohola or kuapio kohola
  • Humpback Whales are on average 45 ft, but lengths up to 60 ft are possible
  • As of 2015 the estimated Humpback whale population had grown globally to 80,000. Of those it is estimated 12,000 to 18,000 visit Hawaii each year.
  • To the native Hawaiians a whale is the representation of the Hawaiian god Kanaloa – the god of all ocean life.
  • Humpback whales are a migratory species which means that they migrate every year between the cool waters close to the poles and (sub)tropical waters. They may travel up to 16,000 miles in a year.
  • Whales are mammals.
  • Only male humpback whales sing, and their songs are part of their competition for potential mate

Tips For Watching from Whale Counters

Every year since 1996 volunteers have been counting whales. These are some tips from their research according to lovebigisland.com 

  • The Kohala coast is by far the best place to see humpback whales.
  • January and February are the best months the see whales at the Kohala coast. In March the total count number goes down by half, but there seem to be slightly more sightings on the Hamakua (northeast) coast.
  • Early in the morning is the best time to see whales. The number of whale sightings on the Big Island at 8:00 am is ~50% higher than the amount spotted just a few hours later at noon.
  • Average numbers for whale sightings fluctuate a lot. On average over all locations, between 3 and 6 whales were seen per 15-minute period in January and February.



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