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Majestic Humpback Whales December through April!

Big Island Whale Watching



Highlights

  • Humpback whales are here December through April
  • See breaching, fin slapping, spouting, whale tails
  • Close encounters common and sightings guaranteed
  • A variety of vessels available

Description

Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii in large numbers from December to April every year. It is common to see people standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean and watching for signs of distant whale activity through binoculars. However, the best whale watching experiences are from a boat. Out at sea you get a much closer view…sometimes they surface right alongside the boat! There is a tremendous difference between watching a whale splashing in the water two miles away and experiencing the thrill of looking over the edge of the boat and having one of these gentle giants swim directly underneath you. If you are here during peak season, look at the pictures above and then do yourself a favor and go on a whale watch. Here is a selection of Big Island whale watching tours or other cruises on which you are likely to see whales.


Whale Watching Options


Captain Zodiac Kona - Honokohau Harbor Whale Watch

Zodiac rafts are known worldwide as the perfect vessel to observe marine life. These fast-moving Zodiacs get into viewing position quickly and provide an exhilarating and fun ride. The small-group atmosphere of this expedition allows for a personal and intimate tour. The rafts are only a few feet off the water and everyone has a front-row seat in these 16-passenger Zodiacs. They also have hydrophones on board to listen to the beautiful whale song.

Tour Times: Daily at 8:00am and 11:45am

Schedule: January 1 – March 31st.

Restrictions: Minimum age is 4. Due to the bouncy nature of the ride persons with back or neck problems or ladies that are pregnant are not permitted on the tour.

Captain Zodiac 3HR Whale Watch Rate

$105.00 per Adult, $75.00 per Child (4-12)   (plus 8.092% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

Checkin: Honokohau Harbor which is just south of the Kona Airport. Check in at the Captain Zodiac office there.

GPS Address:74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Click to view map



Hawaii Nautical Waikoloa Whale Watch

Hawaii Nautical offers a guaranteed whale sightings whale watch on board one of their Waikoloa-based vessels. If you don't see whales on your tour you can go again for free! The 9:45am timeslot is normally done on their 40′ powerboat Halona, and the 1:45pm timeslot is normally done on their sailing catamaran The Spirit of Aloha. Exact vessel used for each tour time may be adjusted based upon their tour demand. They also have a 30′ powerboat and a 34′ power catamaran that are used for whale watching. Hawaii Nautical Whale Watches are 90 minutes in length.

Tour Times: 9:45am and 1:45pm

Schedule: Daily December 1 – April 15. (whale sightings guaranteed after December 15th)

Hawaii Nautical Waikoloa - A-bay Whale Watch Rate

$79.00 per Adult, $39.00 per Child (4-12), Toddler (under 4) FREE   (plus 8.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

Check In: Anaeho'omalu Bay (locals call it A-bay), on the ocean side of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

GPS Address: 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Dr Waikoloa, HI 96743 Click to view map



Hawaii Nautical Kona – Honokohau Harbor Whale Watch

Hawaii Nautical offers a guaranteed whale sightings whale watch on board their sailing catamaran Honi Olani which is based out of Honokohau Harbor, between downtown Kailua-Kona and the Kona Airport. This location is best for guests staying in the downtown Kona / Ali'i Drive area. If you don't see whales on your tour you can go again for free! Hawaii Nautical Whale Watches are 90 minutes in length.

Tour Time: 2:15pm

Schedule: Daily December 1 – April 15. (whale sightings guaranteed after December 15th)

Hawaii Nautical Kona - Honokohau Harbor Whale Watch Rate

$79.00 per Adult, $39.00 per Child (4-12), Toddler (under 4) FREE   (plus 8.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

Check In: Honokohau Harbor slip #39, on the left side of the harbor at the far end near the ocean.

GPS Address: 352-429 Kealakehe Parkway Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Click to view map



Hawaii Ocean Sports - Waikoloa Whale Watch

Hawaii Ocean Sports offers whale watching on Sea Smoke, a sailing catamaran departing from Waikoloa Beach oceanfront from the Waikoloa Marriott. This 90 minute whale watching tour includes snacks and beverages. 8:00am typically has the absolutely calmest water, and 9:30am is the most popular time for whale watching as it still offers the advantage of morning calm but offers a more leisurely morning without the "early rising" required for the 8:00am whale watch.

Tour Times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00am, and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9:30am.

Schedule: December 1 – April 15. (whale sightings guaranteed after December 15th)

10am Hawaii Ocean Sports Whale Watch Rate

$107.00 per Adult, $53.50 per Child (ages 6-12), Infants (5 and under) FREE   (Hawaii sales tax included)

Check In: Anaeho'omalu Bay (locals call it A-bay), on the ocean side of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

GPS Address: 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Dr Waikoloa, HI 96743 Click to view map


Details

Reservations: Advanced reservations required and we recommend booking a week or more before your arrival. A credit card is required to secure your space but these whale watches are RESERVE NOW PAY LATER. Our office charges your credit card for your space just a few days before the start of your vacation.

Minimum Notice for Cancellations / Changes: At least 48 hours before the start of the event.


Kevin at Falls

Kevin's Activity Tips:

No, you don't have to go on a boat to see whales. During the peak season (mid-January to mid-April) it is very common to be able to see whales from the shore. But these sightings are usually pretty far away … it is not a particularly impressive sight to watch a whale jump out of the water three miles away. And these creatures are SO impressive when you experience them close-up. There is a big difference between SEEING a whale and EXPERIENCING a whale. Do yourself a favor … go on a whale watching cruise.

How close will you get to the whales? That depends on the whales. By law, the boats must stop 100 yards away from a whale. They are incredibly curious animals though, and they OFTEN approach much closer than that. Sometimes they mug the boat and swim directly under it … you may even get the rare treat of smelling whale breath! The sound of a spouting whale is something you will not forget … it is much like the powerful puff of a steam engine locomotive.

Best time of day? Well, it doesn't much matter on the Big Island. Whales are equally active and will put on a great show all day long. The general wisdom in Hawaii is that morning is calmer than afternoon. The Kona Coast of the Big Island is a little different than Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. The sheer height of Mauna Loa blocks the trade winds and afternoons are often just as calm as the mornings. So … go when you want. The whales are waiting for you!