Whale watching adventures in Maui

Whales! Whales! Whales!

January 17, 2019

Whale season is in full effect here on Maui and the annual Maui Whale Festival, presented by Pacific Whale Foundation, kicks off in February. The Festival is a series of inspiring events held during Maui’s peak humpback whale season. Each occasion and activity is designed to build awareness and share our love of marine animals and their ocean habitat. Below are just a few of the events taking place throughout the month of February. Check out for more info about Maui Whale Festival here.

While we’re on the topic, here are a few little-known facts about our most prized winter visitors:

  • The scientific name for the humpback whale is Mageptera novaeangliae meaning Big Winged New Englander. Big Winged for its long pectoral fins and New Englander for where most of the first scientific sightings occurred. The common name, humpback, stems from how they arch their back when diving.
  • Only male humpback whales sing. During the winter months here on Maui it is common to put your head underwater and actually hear the whale’s song. We still don’t know why humpbacks sing. This is one of the biggest mysteries of the ocean today.
  • An actual birth has never been seen or documented first hand. We only know humpbacks give birth in our warm Maui waters because of confirmed sightings of newborn whales.
    Humpback population numbers have been steadily rising ever since the end of whaling in 1966. Scientists are currently debating taking the North Pacific sub population (our whales here in Maui) off the ‘threatened’ list.
  • A humpback’s tongue is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and its entire mouth takes up 1/3 of its body. Its throat opening though is only the size of a grapefruit – fitting for a creature that eats huge amounts of a tiny food source.
  • Mom’s milk consists of 40% fat. The milk we drink is only 2%. Calves drink up to 100 gallons per day in order to be strong enough to make the 2,700+ mile migration back to the feeding grounds in Alaska.


Saturday, February 2, 2019 | The Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta is like a “rubber ducky” race, except with little whales on a fast-moving watercourse. You can enter one or more whales to race in your name (or as a gift entry) for a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Saturday, February 2, 2019 | One of Maui’s largest run and walking events. Participants can choose from a 1 mile, 5K, 10K, or 10 mile course.

Friday, February 8, 2019 | Promoting visual storytellers who are passionate about whales, dolphins and our oceans to tell powerful stories that inspire ocean and wildlife conservation around the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 | Music and dancing at sea with some of Hawaii’s top recording artists.

Friday, February 22, 2019 | Kihei Fourth Friday celebrates Maui Whale Festival with a special installment of the popular monthly town party. Enjoy live music by some of Hawaii’s top musicians, ono food, local vendors, keiki activities and eco programs. Free ocean themed fun for all ages!

Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Bringing volunteers together to count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawaii. This event provides a snapshot of local trends in cetacean population abundance and is one of the world’s longest running citizen scientist projects.