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Spot these Humpback Behaviors on Your Next Whale Watch Cruise


It’s the sea-son for excellent winter whale sightings onboard Star of Honolulu’s Early Bird Whale Watching Cruise! So far this January, the first month of our 2022 whale season, we have been spotting an average of 3.5 humpbacks per whale cruise. Plus, our guests were able to view these majestic creatures on 18 of the 19 whale cruises we operated between January 3 and 27, 2022.

You can still join in on the fun and book your tickets as our Whale Cruise runs through March 31, 2022! This two-hour eco-tour comes with Whale Guarantee, and families can receive our Child FREE Special by calling 808-983-7827 as it cannot be booked online. We also offer optional Waikiki round-trip transportation, and guests can purchase snacks and drinks onboard.

Departing at 8:45AM from Aloha Tower, Hawaii’s largest cruise vessel sails along the south shore of Oahu with scenic views of Diamond Head and other Waikiki landmarks. Guests will enjoy Star of Honolulu’s four open-air decks, offering ample space to photograph and spot humpbacks performing spectacular acrobatic moves, such as these:

  • Breach
    The most breathtaking move associated with humpbacks! A whale launches itself out of the ocean and lands back on the surface with a huge splash.
  • Blow
    Whenever humpbacks go above the surface for air, they exhale a cloud of moist air through their blowholes, creating a spout spray. Adults usually surface to breathe every 7-15 minutes, while calves surface every 3-5 minutes.
  • Spy Hop or Head Rise
    Experts believe humpbacks vertically raise their heads out of the water to scan for activity above the surface.
  • Tail Slap
    With this behavior, whales lift their tail flukes and slap them repeatedly on the water surface.
  • Peduncle Slap
    This behavior is similar to a Tail Slap. But instead of their tails, humpbacks slap the water with their peduncles, which connect their flukes to their bodies.
  • Pec Slap
    Believed to be their way of signaling to other whales, humpbacks simultaneously slap both of their fins on the water.
  • Head Lunge
    To show competitiveness, a whale raises its head out of the water and lunges forward.
  • Fluke Dive Up
    A humpback raises and arches its tail above the surface before going underwater.

If you’re lucky enough to capture any of these behaviors, don’t forget to share your photos and videos by tagging us @StarofHonolulu on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration