Here in Maui from late December through mid-April we are blessed with with our charismatic mega-fauna – the humpback whales. Between 7,000 and 10,000 humpback whales gather in the Hawaiian Islands to give birth and mate. The area of Maui Nui (between Maui, Koolohawe, Lania, and Molokai is a favorite “swimming pool” where the whales hang out.
As a volunteer at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, I have the opportunity to go out several times a year on whale boats as a volunteer naturalist. This trip was a small intimate trip on the NOAA rescue boat to thank us for helping clean out the sanctuary following the recent floods (see my blog article). With just a 6 passengers (all sanctuary staff/volunteers) and 1 captain it was very different than the crowded boats and I had the opportunity to bring my camera. 150+ shots later I had mostly water or undecipherable parts of whales! But here are a few good whale shots and photos of the beautiful scenery and fellow passengers. Two very different tail patterns and an amazing shot that shows the size and details of the blowholes.
If you are considering living in Maui, I highly recommend getting involved in one or more community volunteer groups; I personally think the Whale Sanctuary is a fabulous place to start! And if you have any questions about whales or whale watching, just ask me!