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What Kind of Whales Are in Hawaii?

During the winter months of Hawaii, lot’s of people want to see whales. Who can blame them? Whale are majestic and elusive and few people get a chance to see them in their lifetimes.

But while winter is peak whale watching season in Hawaii because that’s when the humpback whales are visiting. But did you know there at least 18 species of whales in Hawaii? Who can blame them? Hawaiian waters are warm all year round.

Some whales are even full-time residents of Hawaii, which means you could see them ANY  time of year.

That’s not to say spotting a whale isn’t special, because it is. My crew and I get very excited every time we spot any kind of whale. Recently, we spotted a false killer whaleand we were all very excited!  There are only about 150 false killer whales in Hawaii, so it is a special sighting!

But what other whales live in Hawaii?

Melon Headed Whales

Estimated Hawaii Population: 2,950
Length: 9ft
Weight: over 200 pounds
Whales of Oahu-Melon Headed Whales

These whales look a lot like dolphins, and their bodies are often described as “torpedo-like” and they have a large bulb at the top of their heads, which gives them their name.

Melon headed whales live in Hawaii full-time! That means no matter when you’re in Hawaii, there’s a chance of seeing these beautiful whales.

Like many marine mammals pilot whales are very social animals, living in pods from 100-1,000.

Melon whales seem to be attracted to boats and like to surf my bow, just like dolphins. When they aren’t playing, they tend to rest at the surface of the ocean, but when they come up, they make big splashes. They’ve also been observed exhibiting the “pilot” behavior of sticking their heads out of the water to see what’s happening on the surface.

Although the melon-head whales prefer deep water, they do spend time on the surface and they are known to frequent the waters of Oahu, so keep your eyes out when you’re on my decks, you never know what you might see!

Short-Finned Pilot Whales

Estimated Hawaii Population: 8,850
Length: 12-18ft
Weight: 2,200-6,000 pounds
Short Finned Pilot Whale Hawaii

Also full-time residents of Hawaii, short-finned pilot whales, they too prefer to stay in deeper waters, making their sightings unusual.

When they are sighted, they are normally in pods of between 25-50.

Mamma short-finned pilot whales are particularly nurturing: known to survive up to 65 years, female short-finned pilot whales give birth between the ages of 9-37 years old and may produce milk and feed calves in their social group until they are in their forties.

Any whale spotting is a special experience.

Of course, I can never guarantee that you’ll see these whales, but I CAN guarantee this you won’t see them at all unless you get on deck and keep your eyes peeled! My captain and crew are very good at spotting whales and if they see one, they will definitely point them out to you, so you too can experience the joy and excitement of seeing whales during your Hawaii vacation.

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