Whale Watching with Pacific Whale Foundation

By Hawaii.com Team

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation.

Humpback whales, like all migrating animals, never change their travel plans. When it’s time to go, they go and nothing gets in their way. So it is that sometime in early autumn, thousands of humpback whales eat their last meal in the northern reaches of the Pacific and set out on the long journey to Hawaii. That’s a 3,000-mile trip that will take a couple of months to complete traveling at a steady pace of about 2 to 5 mph. There are so many of them that most boat companies don’t hesitate to guarantee sightings. And what a sight these playful, 40-ton creatures are.

Whale Watching Tours

Whale Watching, South Maui

Trip includes: Underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs, Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids, Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard, Full-color marine wildlife poster, Whale sightings guaranteed or go again free

Departures: 9am, 1130am, 1230pm Adults: $39 Children: $20

$39 BOOK NOW

Whale Watching, Lahaina, Maui

Trip includes: Underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs, Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids, Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard, Full-color marine wildlife poster, Whale sightings guaranteed or go again free

Departures: 9am, 1130am Adults: $39 Children: $20

$39 BOOK NOW

The Origins of the Pacific Whale Foundation

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation.

Founded by world leader in whale protection, Greg Kaufman, the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui not only leads the way in eco-friendly whale watching tours but is also a leading research and education facility known internationally.

In the 1970s, Kaufman participated in a national campaign that helped reduce the threat of commercial whaling on the humpback population. Then, in 1980, he established the Pacific Whale Foundation concentrating on non-invasive whale research. That led to educational whalewatch trips, conducted on weekends in vessels rented by the Foundation. Eventually, those weekend trips expanded and a new company, Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures, wholly owned by the nonprofit Foundation, was put in place.

Commercial and International Research Expansion

Expansion into commercial tours has done nothing to change the Foundation’s focus. All of the company’s profits are funneled into efforts to protect whales, dolphins and the marine environment. Education is a fundamental aspect of whale watching tours.

The Foundation’s research arm has expanded to Australia, Ecuador and other parts of the Pacific. And over the years, PWF’s education programs have expanded to include tidepool explorations, an ambitious array of community programs, and establishment of a Discovery Center at Ma’alaea.

A Thriving Pacific Humpback Whale Population

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation.

In the years since humpback whales have gained protection as an endangered species, their numbers have grown. The Hawaii population is increasing at an estimated rate of 6-8 percent a year, and whale watching has become a popular attraction worldwide. In the last 26 years, more than 2 million people have gone with PWF naturalists on whale watching tours. These tours are not just for fun. They’re a learning experience gleaned from years of research and the dedication of an organization that set out to save the whales.

Book a Whale Watching Tour with Pacific Whale Foundation

Though the humpbacks don’t arrive in numbers until December, whales can be seen as early as October. Pacific Whale Foundation begins whale search cruises in mid-November. Regular whale watches, with guaranteed sightings, begin in late November.

Whale Watching, South Maui

Trip includes: Underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs, Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids, Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard, Full-color marine wildlife poster, Whale sightings guaranteed or go again free

Departures: 9am, 1130am, 1230pm Adults: $39 Children: $20

$39 BOOK NOW

Whale Watching, Lahaina, Maui

Trip includes: Underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs, Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids, Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard, Full-color marine wildlife poster, Whale sightings guaranteed or go again free

Departures: 9am, 1130am Adults: $39 Children: $20

$39 BOOK NOW

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