Kauai Articles

Kauai’s Gentle Giants

By Captain Chris Turner Photos by Erik Van Embden

Without a doubt, experiencing a great whale watch is like getting the complete package. If Hawaii’s whales were performing for X-Factor, they’d be scoring a perfect “10.” And just like watching the hit TV show, complete suspense and anticipation Is felt as we, the audience, watch them do their amazing stunts and acrobatics at sea. Seeing 50-foot, 60-ton Humpback whales breach full force into the air is something that cannot be missed. The thrill of seeing the unexpected is an opportunity not to miss, because these whales will truly take your breath away. And don’t forget, they can sing too!

The Humpback whale is an extremely intelligent and curious creature. I’ve had the experience of a whale surfacing right next to the raft, with its large, black eye seeming to peer right through my soul, as well as the souls of everyone else on board. The feeling was humbling and spiritual. I’ve witnessed the most incredible blows, leaps, splashes, tail and fin slaps, from these great mammals of the sea and anyone here in Kauai on a vacation must join a whale watching tour to witness what I describe.



The Best Whale Watch Highlight Of 2011

There is one memory that sticks out as a very rare and special event. It started along Na Pali Coast, where I saw approximately six whales in hot pursuit of a large, female whale. The group was going around our raft in a circular pattern. Up to this point, everyone on board had been keeping quite silent, but as the whales grew closer the passengers could not hold their excitement any longer. I heard one woman exclaim about one of the whales, “Oh my goodness, it’s bigger than our whole boat!” Well, as the group reached their third pass around us, we could see that there was a baby whale swimming alongside the large female, he was so close to her, as if he was hugging her for safety from the rest of the pack. And then suddenly the young whale was pushed above the water’s surface, lying on top of its mother’s back for a few seconds, before sliding backwards into the water. We were given the one-in-a-million chance of capturing the event on film. This was one of nature’s magic mo- ments. You never know what you will experience out there on the water, but trust me when I tell you that a whale watch should be on your top ten list for Kauai activities.