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Whale Watching Guide in Oahu

A humpback whale jumping out of the water

To those on the outside, simply living near Oahu’s shimmering sands and ocean waves would be a dream come true. However, there’s so much more to this Hawaiian locale than it’s seaside appeal. You can find a wide variety of entertaining events, pristine lagoons, and hidden gems surrounding the apartments for rent in Oahu.

One such hidden gem is the ability to catch a glimpse of the kohola, otherwise known as the humpback whale, during their breeding season. Over 10,000 whales make their way to these waters each year. If you’ve ever wanted to see the majestic creatures up close and personal, then here’s everything you need to know in order to make the most of your experience.

When Can You See the Whales?

The humpbacks make their way to Oahu’s southern seas during their mating season, which lasts from December to May. During this time, they also give birth to new calves. That makes this location one of the few where you can see both adult and baby humpback whales in one place (without going out to sea, that is).

Where to Find Them – On Land

With the whales appearing off the coast of southern Oahu, you have two options to catch a glimpse of these incredible mammals. Your first option is simple. Spend the day on the beach and you’re likely to see them off in the distance. Of course, you can’t pick just any beach. The trick is knowing which spots offer a close enough look at these gentle giants. In Oahu, there are two.

The first, and most popular, spot in Oahu is the Makapu’u Lighthouse. With an expansive view of the ocean, you’re guaranteed to witness adults leaping out of the water with their young. The path to the lighthouse is an easy hike, and you can always head down to Makapu’u Beach when you’re done.

The second spot is Halona Blowhole, a natural wonder that jets water 30-feet into the air. While you can’t get too close the hole itself, you can still catch the whales in all their glory from a safe distance. Once again, you’re guaranteed to witness the humpback whales in all their glory during the winter months.

Where to Find Them – At Sea

Your second option for whale watching is to schedule a tour or charter a boat yourself. Doing so gets you as close as possible to these beautiful creates, but there are a few things to know if you decide to do either. First, here are some rules and safety measures when chartering a boat:

  • Regulations state that you must remain over 100 yards away from any whale.
  • Do not swim with or near the whales.
  • Don’t touch any marine mammals. That’s for your safety and theirs.
  • Ensure that absolutely nothing leaves your boat. Any object could disturb their natural habitat or harm the whales.

Humpback whales are protected by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act as well as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Hawaii’s Revised Statutes Chapter 195D, and the state’s Administrative Rules 13-124. They are considered an endangered species, which is why protecting their habitat from something as simple as petting them is paramount to repopulation efforts.

If you’re not a fan of sailing or would rather leave getting close to these gentle giants to the professionals, allowing you to simply enjoy the experience, then scheduling a tour is the way to go. Expert guides are ready and waiting to take you out to the best whale watching spots on the water.

There are various types of whale watching tours ranging from those on cruise ships complete with lunch to catamarans and motorized raft boats. Which one is the best is a matter of personal opinion. Everyone enjoys something a little different. You can learn more about your options on Trip Advisor.

Under the Sea

Looking for something a little different? There’s one last way to get your fill of the humpback whales before the season is over. Oahu offers an additional from up to 100 feet below the surface. That’s right. You can catch a glimpse of these aquatic mammals from a submarine, if you’re lucky.

Atlantis Submarines takes you off the shorelines of Oahu for an up-close view of tropical reefs, sunken ships, and exotic marine life. Take the tour during the humpback’s mating season, and your chances for seeing one of these whales up close is at its highest.

Keep in mind that these tours are not specifically taking you to see the whales, but other marine life and sights. With over 10,000 whales in the water, though, you just might end up with close view of how the humpback behaves in its natural habitat. If you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s a video taken from an Atlantis Submarines tour.

Apartments for Rent Oahu

When your whale watching adventure comes to a close, there’s nothing like returning the comforts of home. Nestled at Iroquois Point in West Oahu, Kapilina Beach Homes provides everything you crave in island living. Pristine lagoons, secluded beaches, and a community brimming with opportunities awaits.

Enjoy short commutes to Honolulu and a close proximity to Kapolei, as well as private beaches right outside your front door. Spacious floor plans contain modern finishes that begin with luxury vinyl tile flooring and end with outdoor living areas and private lanais. Quart countertops, reserved covered parking, and central AC combine to create envious in-home features.

The Community at Kapilina is filled with a selection of carefully curated amenities. Relax after a long day in the resort-style pool, meandering spa, beach park or private marina. Stay active with the fitness center, yoga room, and various sports courts as well as running trails. Entertain guests in the party pavilions or picnic areas with charcoal grills. Keikis can enjoy their own pool as well as six unique playgrounds, while dogs can walk freely in the park or partake in the agility course. From demonstration kitchens to an on-site farmer’s market, this community has it all.

Welcome to an elevated sense of island living. Welcome to Kapilina Beach Homes, your resort awaits.