Humpback whales returning to Hawaii for the winter season

by B. N. Sullivan

We're at the start of Humpback whale season here in Hawaii. Every autumn, large numbers of Humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from their summer feeding grounds in the north Pacific to the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, where they then spend the winter. Those of us who live in Hawaii tend to feel a bit possessive about the north Pacific stock of Humpbacks, because they are born and bred in our waters.  Over the course of their winter stay in Hawaii, the big cetaceans mate, and the females who became pregnant the year before give birth to their calves.  In spring they all migrate north again

Although we haven't yet seen this year's Humpbacks here on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, the first whales of the season were spotted recently near Maui. That means we can expect to see them here on our coast any minute!

Earlier this month some lucky folks on an Oceanic Society whale watching boat near the Farallon Islands, 25 miles west of San Francisco, had an amazing encounter with some Humpbacks. Four friendly whales "approached the boat and for over an hour circled the boat, nearly brushing up against it, and seemed to make contact with the 45 passengers on board."

Here is the Oceanic Society's video of that exciting encounter:

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.


  1. How lucky they all were to experience that!

  2. Yes, they sure hit the jackpot that day, didn't they?


  3. Such magestic creatures. It is no surprise that people ares so easily drawn to them.

  4. That would be an incredible experience, thanks for sharing this !!


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Bobbie & Jerry