Kona is located on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The northern section of this coast is part of the National Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary. Whale-watching cruises usually originate from the city of Kailua or from nearby Honokahau Harbor. Humpback whales are typically abundant in the near shore areas from mid-December until mid-April.
If you are planning a vacation to the Big Island, the best viewing times can be coordinated with a Valentine’s getaway. During the middle of the whale-watching season, you can typically see mothers with their calves, mating activity, and breaching whales by the dozens.
This site is designed to provide you with general Hawaiian cetacean facts and daily observations about our humpback visitors.The humpback whale is the fifth largest animal on the planet and unlike most of the rorquals, they tend to be found in the shallow coastal areas of the world’s oceans. In Hawaii, they are generally found in waters shallower than 600 feet in depth. This means that they are easier to view than most other whales. During the winter mating season boats are available to take you out to get a close view of our Hawaii's state mammal.
I have been involved with cetaceans for many years but for the last seven years I have been observing these whales while working as a whale watch naturalist on the Kona coast of the Big Island. While the Big Island does not have as many whales congregating here (compared to Maui with it shallow west coast waters) we still get large numbers that mate and calve within sight of the shoreline. These whales provide unforgettable shows for the residents and visitors for four months of the year before returning to their Alaskan feeding grounds for the summer.