Whale Watching from Shore
Over 8,000 humpback whales return to the Hawaiian waters each year. They come to breed and give birth in the warm, calm, safe waters. The area off of South and West Maui is a hotspot for humpbacks due to the calm water that is protected from the Northern winds and waves. While there are many, high quality whale-watching tours that will take you out in a boat to get up close to the whales, you can also see many from shore. On a typical day from a Lahaina shore, one can often see multiple groups of whales out in the ocean at the same time. It is generally possible to find a group of whales within 5 minutes of scanning the horizon. To look for whales, it is easiest to look for the white spray that will be coming from the humback's blowhole.
The whales often will be found in groups, however they can be solo just as well. There are several common ways you will see a whale above water, all seen in the Lahaina.com video above. They will breach, where they "jump", getting almost two-thirds of their body out of the water. They will lie on their sides and slap the water. These two are more common when they are more stable and playing or feeding. The most common sighting will be of a whale surfacing to breath, where one will see a spray from the blowhole and possible part of the top of the body. Lastly, the humpback whales will often show their whole tail as they dive back down. Both male and female humpback whales will sing underwater. However, males will sing a song that lasts up to 20 minutes and they will repeat the song over and over for hours on end. Listening carefully to this snorkeling video taken off of Black Rock in Lahaina over New Years, you can hear the whales singing nearby. So, not only can you watch the whales from the shores of Lahaina, but you can hear them as well!