Year-Round Whale Watching | Departures near Ko Olina, Oahu

Wild Side deemed one of the “Top Five American Whale Watching Tours”

It’s whale season! Get in touch with your Wild Side. Meet your finned counterparts on our Oahu whale watch and dolphin encounter charters. Hawaii, the only U.S. birthing grounds of humpback whales, has year round whale watching of other marine mammals. Nothing beats the awe-inspiring beauty of the Waianae coast, except the equally stunning and diverse wildlife.

During whale season, Hawaii’s water are known world-wide to host an variety of whale and dolphin species. Such as, Hawaii’s favorite winter visitor the Humpback Whale. Many dolphin species have also documented in Hawaii, including rough-toothed dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins and false killer whales ( a very large dolphin). For the most whale intensive areas of Hawaii, and to see the rarest species of whales on Earth go with the experts.. Which whales or dolphins we encounter will most frequently depend on how deep, or far offshore we are able to look.

Whale Watching Oahu

There are 18 species of toothed whales in Hawaiian waters including Sperm Whales, Pygmy Whales, Melon-headed whales, False Killer whales,and rarer Orcas and Beaked Whales. Other dolphin species encountered year-round include the resident Rough-Toothed Dolphins, Pilot Whales, Spinner, Bottlenose, and Spotted Dolphins.

Short-finned pilot whales in Hawaii

The Hawaiian term for dolphin is nai’a, and refers to all the smaller dolphins found in Hawaiian waters, though “kiko” is used for spotted dolphins. The larger (and more commonly seen) pilot whales, false killer whales, melon-headed whales and pygmy killer whales are often termed “blackfish”.

Pods of dolphin and whale commonly contain nursery groups – mothers with their young, adolescent females taking turns “babysitting”, and a few older males mixed in. The pod stays in contact with each other via extensive and complicated sonar communication systems made up of click’s, whistles, squawks, and high pitched squeals.

WHALE WATCHING TAKES PLACE ONBOARD the Best of the West (year round)

Looking for an intimate charter that does whale watching only? While ran as a private charter , we can try to mix and match with like-minded folks to split the private charter cost… Otherwise note on the reservation form that whales are your type priority and again, we’ll try to mix and match you similar folks – which more often than not do have the same whale focus, especially over humpback season.

Throughout the course of the year many species are encountered in these waters. The depth to which you travel will usually determine what species you will see. Part of the excitement of Wild Side cruises – each day offers unexpected surprises, along with the common. It is almost impossible to 100% guarantee sightings of any of the 15+ species of cetaceans regularly documented in Hawaiian waters, either residing in or temporarily using Oahu as a “Pit-Stop” before continuing journeys to global or (more usually) state-wide destinations.

Wonderful photographic models, these animals provide you the opportunity to take home fantastic vacation pictures or video footage, and one of the best souvenirs of your time spent in Hawaii. Also, your conservation photos are an opportunity to inspire others to care about these enigmatic beings.

frequency of whales and dolphins sighted in Hawaii chart PWF

We measure intelligence first by brain size and complexity – dolphins and other whales appear to be second only to modern humans. Observing their behavior – they are self-conscious individuals with personality, memory and the ability to reflect on their own thoughts. This actually meets the definition of a person, and is consistent with the brain evidence.” Lori Marino, neurobiologist

Wild Side’s wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and dolphins. We strive to foster admiration and deep respect for these wonder-full marine mammals.

Although our sighting rates are at 95+% we cannot guarantee sightings, interaction with wild dolphins, whales, snorkeling, nor ideal weather conditions. We reserve the right to not facilitate in-water OR shipboard encounters which we feel may compromise the well-being of our guests or ocean wildlife. All passengers are required to wear locator/flotation devices in water. We do not offer transportation to the boat harbors.

Wild Side adheres to the WCA Global Best Practice Guidance Whale Watch minimizing the risks of adverse impacts of whale watching.