The humpbacks are here! Our favorite ocean visitors have returned to Hawaii’s warm ocean, where they spend the winter months breeding, giving birth, and nursing their young before returning to the cold Alaskan waters.
In Hawaiian, humpback whales are called kohala. These magnificent creatures have a special significance to Native Hawaiians, who view kohala as a family aumakua, or spiritual ancestor who takes the form of an animal. Many Hawaiians today still honor their aumakua and treat them with the utmost respect.
When watching these enormous marine mammals, it isn’t hard to understand why they deserve this respect. Humpbacks can range in size from 40 to 50 feet and weigh up to a whopping 45 tons. At the same time, they are remarkably graceful creatures, and can thrust nearly half of their bodies out of the water in a grand gesture known as breaching. Humpbacks are also very strong swimmers and use their flukes, or large tail fins, to drive them through the water.
Want to learn more about humpbacks? Ask our certified Naturalists during your next Star of Honolulu whale watch cruise! For more information, call (808) 983-STAR (7827) or visit StarofHonolulu.com.