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How do you spot signs of a whale when you're on the water?

At Kai Kanani, one type of tour that we offer is a whale-watching tour off the coast of Maui. During this excursion, you may be able to see Pacific humpback whales. We are often asked the question, “How do you spot signs of a whale when you are out on the water?” Read on to learn what to look for.

1. Search for Circular Watermarks

One of the ways that you can search for signs of whales when you are on the water is to look for circular watermarks on the surface of the water. Circular watermarks are typically left behind after a whale does a tail slap. Pacific humpback whales can complete 30 tail slaps in a row, leaving a residual circular pattern on the ocean’s surface. If you see this pattern, you know that whales are nearby.

2. Scan the Water for Motion

Another way to spot signs of a whale when you are out on the water is to scan the surface for signs of motion. Pacific humpback whales perform many natural behaviors that may involve anything from a small piece of the whale piercing the surface of the water to the entire whale breaching the surface. Common behaviors may include a tail slap, pectoral wave, spy hop, peduncle throw, head lunge, sounding dive, or breach. Scanning the surface of the water and looking for anything out of place may help you spot a whale.

3. Watch for a Spray of Water

Lastly, watch for a spray of water emerging from the ocean. This spray, which may look like fog or mist, happens when a whale breathes or blows from its spout. If you see a spray of water, watch closely because you’re likely to see a whale soon after this happens.

The best time to see whales near the coast of Maui is during the months of November through May, with January, February, and March being the peak whale-watching season. If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, visit our website to book a whale-watching tour here at Kai Kanani. How do you spot signs of a whale when you’re on the water?

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