One of the pleasures of visiting Maui is the underwater life. The waters around Maui are rich with fish, coral, sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, and this time of year, Humpback whales.
The Humpbacks come to the Hawaiian waters to mate and/or calve. Reportedly, about a half of the world's northern Pacific Humpback population of 21,000, migrate from the far north to swim around the Hawaiian islands between December and April. Many pass through the strait between west Maui and the east end of Molokai. While visiting the islands, the whales do not feed, but only mate or calve. The observer can simply sit on the shore and watch the spouting whales swim along through the waters, with the occasional spectacular breech. Spinner dolphins occasionally frolic alongside the whales.
We did see many whales spouting from the shorelines and also went on a commercial whale watching excursion based out of Lahaina. On the boat, we saw whales cruising the surface here and there, as well as an occasional tail aloft, preparing for a dive.
The snorkeling was another story. We saw tons of colorful fish, coral and feeding sea turtles. The water was relatively warm, though I wouldn't have shunned a wetsuit. The shallow cove outside the condo (Napili Point area) we rented seemed to be a haven for sea turtles. From one spot underwater, I counted 5 within view. They would feed or rest or occasionally gulp extra air to then go down to the bottom to wedge themselves under a rock for an apparent nap. Herewith is a sampling of some of our friends from the sea, courtesy of Paul's waterproof Lumix and free diving skills.
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a - the name is for real - Hawaiian state fish
Whale of a Tail