City Girl Gone Wandering
Having previously spent time in Cape Cod, whales were not entirely unfamiliar to me. But whales in Hawaii are a different story. Hawaii is not on a continental shelf, and since the island is built on the slopes of several volcanoes the water around us gets very deep very quickly. As such, whales are able to come a lot closer to shore.
The Humpbacks come down to Hawaii from Alaska, usually arriving in December and staying through March or April. However, this year they showed up in November giving us an extra month to enjoy their presence.
They come to the islands in order to mate and give birth, then swim north for their summer feeding season.
Coming so close to shore makes them easy to observe from various bars and beaches. Sometimes you’re even lucky enough to see a whole group splashing around at once. No matter how many times they cross your path the magic of their presence never lessens. It is a humbling sight to see such enormous creatures thrashing about, living their lives out in the royal blue waters.
As wonderful as whale watching from shore can be, it is far better to get on a boat and lock eyes with our magnificent visitors. Kona offers whale specific cruises, but most boat tours during whale season will provide you with an up close and personal encounter. Boat options vary between luxury catamarans and slightly more adventurous rigid-hull inflatable rafts. Some boats are even equipped with sonar and allow you to listen to the heart-stopping sound of the whale song.
Along with whales, we also have resident dolphins that live in the water surrounding our coastline. The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins are particularly notable, named for their quirky habit of leaping out of the water and spinning.
Whale season is over now and the horizon seems so much more empty. However, the dolphins are doing their best to keep us company as we wait for the humpbacks to return in the fall.