While Hawaii does have year round whale watching –  the seasonal humpback whale arrival can begins as soon as Fall. The population increases as the season progresses as different classes of whales leave Alaska at different times. For example, females nursing calves leave the Alaska feeding. So although there are many whales and daily sightings come mid-December, the peak population comes a little later (closer to Feb. – March). Likewise, the most action/behavior viewing is also in the Feb. – mid March era.  The single females (now presumably pregnant) are hungry and heading back up to Alaska and similar to “closing time at the bar”, males will be giving a last ditch effort to “catch the gals” (no offense guys)! Soon it will be mostly cows that gave birth this season and their nursing offspring left. It’s a quite and peaceful time of growth, that will soon transform into mom’s teaching and babies practicing breaches and tail slaps. Babies are building muscles and beefing up for that long swim to Alaska.

The best time of day is early morning or later afternoon. Like other mammals, whales tend to be more quiet in the midday ‘siesta’ hours. Not so much that it is hot in Hawaii – but the sun is intense. Also, like other mammals, whales can sunburn too. Humpback whales have lots of protective melanin, but it’s thought that staying a bit deeper and longer under the surface helps to block some of the tropical sunrays.