Kauai Articles

Pure Unpredictable Excitement

by Na Pali Riders’ Captain Chris Turner

The full great measure of a humpback whale moment! The memory of it will make your Hawaiian winter vacation a standout – a pinnacle among all your vacations. We’re talking about the humpback breaching show, perhaps the most awesome on the planet. What’s the big deal? It’s about 50 tons of whale catapulting from the water, the power of it all, like as the space shuttle lifts off from its launchpad! You have to experience it to understand, to explain. Could you fully explain to your child the thrill of a roller coaster before they themselves have experienced it?

The humpbacks are here only in the winter, and so you can easily miss the boat – miss the opportunity to experience dinosaur-sized animals up close – close enough to smell them, to feel their spray, to hear their thunder. Often there can be ten huge male humpbacks competing, battling, and relentlessly chasing a perspective female mate. Experiencing the spectacle, I believe, will change any human’s perspective about our place in the natural world. There are somewhere close to twelve thousand humpbacks spread out along the Hawaiian chain each winter, here to mate, to give birth.

The fifty ton mom’s gestation is one year, her baby is 12-14 feet long, weighting in at 1-1.5 tons. Moms milk is so rich that baby will grow an average of a hundred pounds, and about on inch bigger in length, each day. The babies are curious, and if we’re lucky, we get to see one close up as it strays from mom to check out our boat – to the sounds of our WOWs and HOLY COWs at the unbelievable Discovery Channel AWE moment. People ask, over and over, if that really just happened, and my answer is always the same, that humpback whale watching is addicting, that there is no cure, so you had just better plan to be here every winter in Hawaii to get your whale fix. Once will never be enough!