After working a long work week at the hospital, you would think one thing Beth wanted for her birthday was to sleep in. But she traded that opportunity, for the chance to get up at 4:45am and see some whales!
We are in the middle of whale season here in Maui, so naturally the whale watch boat cruises are on top of the tourist lists. Its estimated between 12-14 thousand humpback whales come to the waters of Hawaii every winter. They travel thousands of miles from the waters near Alaska to take advantage of the warm and shallow water in Hawaii. Most of the baby whales, or calves, are born here.
I read the best time to see the whales is the 6:30am boat. The whales are always active, but the water is generally calmer first thing in the morning so they are easier to see. Luckily we picked a great day! We manged to see about 12 whales and a small pod of dolphins.
We didn’t get super close to any of the whales. The laws say you have to stop moving within 100 yards of seeing a whale. They can approach you if they want, but you can’t get any closer to them. Sometimes their curiosity brings them over, but our boat was probably too big because none of them got very close.
Even though we didn’t get super close, we still manged to see a lot. We got close enough it was easy to see the size of them – and they are huge! There were a lot of times when we came upon a mother whale and her baby. The baby would often stay right along the surface of the water while the mother stayed deeper.
Seeing a whale jump out of the water or come right next to us would have been awesome! But just being close to them was still a great experience.
Since we started the whale watch so early, we were done about 8:30am. That meant Beth still had a lot of birthday left. We headed home to relax for a bit, got some lunch, and then headed to the beach. With a winter birthday, Beth doesn’t usually get a chance to go to a beach on her birthday!
Although we did it a day after her birthday, one other cool thing we did this weekend was visited the Iao Valley State Park. It is a small state park near the middle of the island, inside the valley of the West Maui Mountains. Iao Valley is home to the 1,200 ft. Iao Needle. It is a rock formation that basically sticks straight up out of the ground, and it was used as a lookout by the native Hawaiians.