Each winter there's an increase in visitors to the islands, Humpback whales, the State of Hawaii's official marine
mammal. From as early as September until as late as May, humpback whales can be seen in the near-shore waters
surrounding the Hawaiian Islands and West Maui is one the best viewing areas in all of Hawaii.
Scientists estimate that approximately 4,000 to 5,000 humpback whales, two-thirds of the North Pacific stock,
migrate to Hawaii each winter. From their feeding grounds in Alaska, they cross 3,000 miles of ocean to reach their
winter destination, which offers the promise of relaxation, adventure and "romance." The primary activities that
humpback whales engage in during their stay in Hawaii include mating, birthing and nursing. Male humpbacks also
spend their time competing with others for female attention and perfecting their singing techniques.
A whale watching cruise can be an awe-inspiring experience from the water. Mothers can be seen teaching their
calves to breach, and males can be seen competing with one another in fierce head-to-head battles. The underwater
vocal stylings of male humpback whales can even be heard by divers, snorkelers and boaters. The thrill of such
encounters has fostered a strong love of humpbacks in the islands.