The Giants of Maui

Humpback whales are incredible creatures. Weighing between 25 and 40 metric tons they truly are the giants of the ocean. Here in Maui, they start to appear in our waters in the winter months. Between December and April, these majestic animals are in abundance around the island – housing the world’s most populated school in terms of density.
Throughout this time, you can enjoy unforgettable sights of the Humpbacks by enjoying one of our up close and personal Whale Watch activities. Whether you choose the Kayak Whale Watch, Canoe Whale Watch or Stand Up Paddle Board Tour, you can catch a glimpse of the Maui whales in all of their beauty.
Each year, over 10,000 Humpbacks come to visit Maui to take advantage of the shallow and warm waters. With the season beginning in early December (although with some sightings in November) you will be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind, personalized interaction during one of your aquatic adventures with the assistance of one of our fantastic tour guides.
humpback whale

The Great Humpback Migration

Before heading to the tropical waters of Hawaii in the winter, Humpback whales live in the cold waters of Alaska. Mostly feeding on krill and plankton, they feast before heading to our warmer waters when the food runs out.

As we don’t have plankton or krill in Maui, it’s clear that they need to get all of their feeding done before heading to our shores. As well as Maui, the humpbacks also head to Japan, Mexico and Baja California in the colder months.

Why Do Humpback Whales Migrate To Hawaii?

As mentioned above, the main reason as to why they migrate to Hawaii is the warm waters. However, that’s not the only reason why they are drawn to our island.

Humpback whales also head to Hawaii to breed and give birth each year. The warm waters of Hawaii help with this process, making it easier for the expectant mothers to birth their calves – far away from the freezing waters of Alaska.

When Humpback whales are born, they lack the extra weight needed to stay alive in the colder water – therefore the waters of Hawaii is an ideal solution.

humpback whalehumpback whale

How Far do Humpback Whales Travel Each Year?

Traveling in a constant speed of 3-5 MPH, Humpback whales make the long voyage between Alaska and Maui. Taking them up to six weeks, although they rest for 30 minutes at a time, they are determined to get to Hawaii so they try to move as fast as possible before the waters are too cold.
As they make the voyage every year, it’s clear that they retain the memory of how to get to Hawaii. However, one of the main theories as to how they remember their way, is that they have magnetite in their brain. The naturally-occurring magnetite can be used to navigate (almost like a built-in GPS). A scientific marvel, it’s a clever technique that we will never fully understand. For humans traveling south from Alaska to Maui might initially seem difficult. How can they possibly know the exact route without getting lost along the way?

But for the Humpback whales, it becomes a journey that they complete without any issues – one of the reasons as to why these extraordinary mammals amaze people around the world.

Do The Humpback Whales Have Any Predators?

humpback whale

Another reason as to why the Humpback whales make the Hawaiian waters their home for the winter is the lack of predators. Unlike the colder waters of the north, the shallow waters of Hawaii don’t have any Orcas – the Humpback whales most fearsome predator.

With shallow waters (the channel between Lanai, Molokai and Maui is only 200 ft deep) throughout the islands, you can see why the Humpback whales love them and return each year. However, once the whales head back to the north, they are open to the predators of the open ocean – which includes the Orcas and sharks. They are also in danger from longline debris – a major killer of whale calves every year.

Humpback Whale Breaching: Why Do They Do It?

Humpback whale breaching off of Maui

There isn’t a more incredible sight than witnessing a breach of a Humpback whale. Showcasing the beauty of these animals in all of their glory, you will discover the power and the might of the whales right before your eyes. A sight that is very rare, it is an image that you will never forget.

Whether you head out on a whale watch tour, enjoy a few hours in one of our boats for rent or are camping on the shores in one of our campervans you could catch a glimpse of this spectacle.

But why do Humpback whales breach in the first place, you might ask? Although there isn’t a definitive answer, researchers believe that it might be one of three reasons – either they want to see the landscape around them, they want to remove any barnacles on them that they got from the long voyage or they are simply having fun splashing in the water.

We hope that it’s the latter!

Fun Facts About Humpback Whale Calves

Did you know that Female Humpback whales give birth every two to three years? With a 12 month pregnancy, they need to get to the warmer waters to give birth.
whale tail maui hawaii
As with any baby animal, Humpback whales will stay with their mom until they are old enough to go out on their own. After being born in the waters of Hawaii, the mom will show their calves how to feed and navigate the waters for almost 1 year.

Nursing with their moms each day throughout the year, they will start to grow an average of one inch every day. Humpback whales’ milk contains an impressive 40% fat, which drank in abundance (they are said to drink up to 100 gallons per day) will ensure that the calf grows big and strong.

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Happy Customers

Road to Hana

It was an epic road trip. We got a camper van. We drove on the road to Hana with no issues, camped in the rain, camped in the wind, by the beach, under streetlights and in the middle of nowhere. We loved exploring the road to Hana at a much slower pace. This was an incredible experience. Thanks, Aloha!

Sea Escape Maui Boat Rental

“Yeah, perfect day, we saw two big humpback whales, thousands of fishes, turtles, the cliffs and much more! We were able to see 150 meters down in the sea. All in all, it was an awesome experience, without any ripple out there. It could not be any better!”

Sea Escape Maui Boat Rental

We went to the south east side. Then we went to Molokini. We saw a 5-feet white shark. Water clarity was amazing. Then we just cruised around. We also caught a couple of fishes. It was a great experience all around! Thanks!”

Sea Escape Maui Boat Rental

“Well! We took the kids to Molokini, we did Snorkeling, and we were lucky to see some whales. The boat was wonderful to drive, this is our third time with your service, and we will try to be back.”

Sea Escape Maui Boat Rental – Captain Steve!

Caroline and Sabastian

Caroline and Sabastian

“Well what can I say about the trip of a lifetime? We got engaged. We spent a magical time at a National Park. Aloha Outdoors was totally cool and showed me everything. We spent less for a home and car than anyone could manage with a hotel and rental car.”

Joel and Tanya

Joel and Tanya

“Being able to rent the camper van for a full 10 days made our Maui experience so much more!! In fact I have sent dozens of people your way already, so expect a few more people from Juneau Alaska! Thank you sooo very much it was the best way to travel! Oh, and keep the extra food and drinks!”

Sally, Sarah, and Suzan

Sally, Sarah, and Suzan

“We rented a camper for my fiancé’s birthday and had a such a great and memorable experience! What a beautiful and unique way to see the island. Our friends rented a second van a we toured the island as a group. It was an opportunity of a lifetime on a minimal budget. Thanks Aloha Outdoors.”

Lonnie S.

Lonnie S.

What a great time on the water, the boat was fantastic and ran flawlessly. They gave us great instructions and recommendations on where to go. We went to Molokini crater and did some snorkeling, fun time and beautiful fish galore. Then on the way to turtle town the Humpback whales put on a show of a lifetime. I just love the whales and dolphins. How incredible to see them breach so close. Nothing better than having your own boat and the freedom to go where you want and when you want. 5 Hours was just the perfect amount of time.

Cory S.

Cory S.

Just got done with the boat rental from a few hours ago. In a word, AWESOME! We started at 6am so we beat the crowds for snorkeling at Molokini, then just cruised around looking for whales. We saw at least 10, with a few of them fairly close. I will recommend this to anyone coming to Maui. The staff was great at setting us up and made it a breeze. The boat was very nice and we only had to spend $31 on gas, although we didn’t go as far as most people might. If you’re thinking about doing it, do it!

Debbie M

Debbie M

We live here and we’re looking for a way to get on the water without buying our own boat. They gave us an awesome orientation, launched the boat, and off we went. So many whales! Went over to Molokini, then over to Wailea to cruise the coast. Found a mooring, went swimming & ate lunch. Coming back, they were right there to take our lines, and take over from there. So nice to just show up, take off, and then leave the clean up to them! Looking forward to doing it again! Highly recommend this avenue to all!”

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