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1 Whale, 2 Whale, 3 Whale, More!

By January 15, 2024 No Comments

Humpback whale breachingShow Your Love For Maui’s Humpback Whales Through Counts & Watches.

Humpback whales are everyone’s favorite winter visitors in the waters surrounding Maui. They draw visitors from all over the world each year to witness the whales’ majestic displays. The warm and shallow waters of the Auau channel between Maui, Lana’i, and Molokai provide an ideal winter sanctuary for these incredible marine mammals. Each year, they migrate from their cold feeding grounds in Alaska to the warmer Hawaiian waters for mating and calving. Maui’s humpback whales typically peak in population from December to April, offering a unique opportunity for enthusiasts and researchers alike to observe and study these massive creatures. Here are some ways you can be involved in the study and conservation of humpback whales, and simply enjoy their presence.

Count Whales as a Citizen Scientist

You don’t have to be a scientist to contribute to the study and protection of Maui’s humpback whales. Each year, The Pacific Whale Foundation hosts The Great Whale Count! This gives visitors and locals alike the chance to help scientists learn more about Maui’s humpback whales. 

Participating in a humpback whale count is a unique and rewarding experience. It not only contributes to scientific research but also fosters a deeper connection with the majestic marine life inhabiting the waters of Maui. Positioned strategically at vantage points overlooking the ocean, volunteers peer through binoculars, scanning the horizon for the distinctive spouts, breaches, and fluke dives of humpback whales.

Photo by Pacific Whale Foundation.

The data collected during the whale count is invaluable for scientists and researchers studying humpback whale populations, migration patterns, and behaviors. Over the years, this collective effort has contributed significantly to our understanding of humpback whale ecology and has informed conservation initiatives to protect these iconic marine mammals. According to the Pac Whale website, “This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running community scientist projects, dating back to 1995.”

For many participants, the whale count becomes a cherished annual tradition. It offers an opportunity to give back to the community and contribute to marine conservation efforts. The experience of being part of a citizen science initiative leaves a lasting impact. It inspires a sense of responsibility for the well-being of our oceans and the incredible creatures that call them home.

To join The Great Whale Count this year, head to The Pacific Whale Foundation’s website. Events this year take place January 27, February 24, and March 30. Each event begins at 8am and ends at 12pm. Volunteers must be able to participate the entire time of the event. 

Watch Whales as a Nature Lover

If you can’t make it to a count, whale watching tours are a daily, exciting way to learn all about our humpback friends. Plus, Maui’s commitment to conservation and responsible tourism is evident in efforts to protect the humpback whales and their habitat. Strict guidelines govern the distance that boats must maintain from the whales to minimize disturbance to these magnificent creatures. Additionally, education programs and awareness initiatives aim to inform both locals and visitors about the importance of preserving the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem that supports the humpback whales. So, whale watching tours are a perfect mix of fun, education, and conservation.

While you’re on the water you’ll probably get to see mothers nurturing new calves, competition pods, breaching, pec slaps, and maybe even some spy hops! If you don’t know what all those things are, you’ll certainly learn on your whale watch. Here are some of our favorite whale watching tours to try while you’re in Maui between December and April.


Click for Pacific Whale Foundation’s Whale Watch


Click for Ultimate Whale Watch


Click for Ali’i Nui Whale Watch

Teralani Whale Watch

Click for Teralani Sailing Premium Whale Watch

The presence of humpback whales in Maui’s waters is a testament to the island’s natural beauty and ecological significance. The annual migration of these majestic creatures offers an awe-inspiring spectacle, drawing nature enthusiasts, researchers, and curious onlookers alike. Moreover, Maui’s commitment to responsible tourism and marine conservation ensures that future generations can continue to marvel at Maui’s humpback whales in their winter sanctuary. We hope you’ll continue to be part of that commitment.

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About Auntie Snorkel

Auntie Snorkel shop has been serving Maui’s fun seekers for over 33 years, established in 1985. We're the original South Maui Snorkel Shop. When I bought the shop 10 years ago from Auntie, we decided to keep the name. The name "Auntie" is a term of respect here in Hawaii. I'm living my dream. I get to meet awesome people from all over the world and share with them my love and knowledge of this magical island that I get to call home. We know all the spots. I have lived here since 2001. We're the true definition of a family owned and operated shop. I answer the phones and work the shop along with my family. When you shop with us you're supporting my ohana and for that I thank you!! Why go anywhere else? We're the friendliest, fastest, cheapest and our location is the most epic! Mahalo and Aloha”. ~Mark Noble (Owner & Maui Fun Expert)

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