Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Join our amazing crew on the Hoku Nui for a snorkel or manta ray tour.  As winter approaches, you might view a humpback whale on your way out to your snorkel tour!

Every year, humpback whales embark on an extraordinary journey, migrating thousands of miles from their feeding grounds in Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii. This remarkable migration is driven by the whales’ need to breed and give birth in the sheltered Hawaiian waters.

As winter approaches in Alaska, the humpback whales begin their southward migration, traveling over 3,000 miles to reach the Hawaiian Islands. The journey takes several months, with the whales swimming at an average speed of 3-5 miles per hour. They navigate using a combination of factors, including the Earth’s magnetic field, celestial cues, and even the taste of the water.

Upon reaching Hawaii, the humpback whales engage in courtship and mating rituals, with males competing for the attention of females. The whales display a variety of behaviors, including breaching, pec slapping, and singing their complex and beautiful songs. After a gestation period of about 11 months, the females give birth to their calves in the shallow, protected waters of Hawaii.

The humpback whales spend the winter months in Hawaii, nursing their calves and socializing with other whales. The calves grow rapidly, gaining up to 100 pounds per day. By spring, the calves are strong enough to make the long journey back to Alaska, and the whales begin their northward migration.

The humpback whale migration is a remarkable testament to the resilience and adaptability of these magnificent creatures. Their journey highlights the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the importance of protecting marine habitats.


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