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Every year between November and May, humpback whales make their way to the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

While these gigantic sea mammals can be seen cresting from the water at any time during the season, the surest bet to seeing a humpback whale is between January and March.

Scuba Dive in Hawaii — How to See the Whales

There are many ways you can see humpbacks in their natural element during whale watching season. There are boat tours and whale watching cruises.

On the island of Maui in particular, whale watching is a popular autumn and winter pastime. While you can get closer to the whales on a boat, it is possible to see them from the beach as well.

One word or warning, however: Environmental laws prohibit anyone from getting closer to humpback whales than 100 yards. This is to protect the animals from harm.

Scuba Dive in Hawaii — Whale Watching Tips

If you are planning a whale watching outing, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast first. Winter in Hawaii can bring strong winds and chilly temperatures, especially when you are on a boat out at sea.

It’s also a good idea to bring and wear sun block. When you are out on the ocean, there is nothing to protect you from the sun’s direct rays. Wearing sunglasses and a heat also is a good idea.

To improve your chances of seeing whales when they do leap from the water, wear polarized sunglasses. The combination of the sun’s rays and the water can temporarily blind you.

Scuba Dive in Hawaii — Bring Your Camera

To record your whale watching experience forever, make sure you bring your camera or at least your smartphone. Taking photos will help you remember your adventure and lets you share it with others later.