Fascinating Facts about Humpbacks
Last Update on: February 1, 2022

Welcome to the most exciting time during our whale season! It’s hard to look out at the ocean from any vantage point on Maui without seeing multiple spouts.

For those of you as mesmerized as we are with our humpback whales, here are some fun facts:

Water is an excellent medium for sound transmission, and in deep water, the low-frequency parts of their songs can sometimes be heard literally hundreds of miles away.

The humpback whale’s brain weighs 14 pounds (6.35 KG), almost 5 times more than your brain. The 20-pound whale’s brain is the largest of all known animals (over 9 KG!)

Maui whales

Humpback whales can be found in all of our oceans. They traveled across our planet likely singing variations of the current whale song for millions of years before we came along.

The sound created by man from large ships, oil exploration, and military exercises impair humpback’s ability to communicate and navigate. In some cases, loud noise causes serious damage to the structure of their inner ears.  This is one of the reasons why we encourage visitors to go sailing on Maui.

If you see a whale tail, it often means they’re diving. In summer, humpback whales usually stay under for less than 6 minutes. In winter, humpbacks can stay down for more than 30 minutes.

Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of large whales. The behavior we see along the Hawaiian Islands mainly concerns male competition, breeding, and calf rearing.

whale activity

Humpback whale males spread across the North Pacific, while females return to the same feeding and breeding sites each year. Maui is home to the most popular whale destination.  Learn more about doing a private Maui whale watch.

Humpback whales make one of the furthest migrations of all mammals. Each year, humpback whales travel to and from the tropics, a journey that measures almost 10,000 kilometers for some whales. Although to travel massive distances, they demonstrate a fondness to certain breeding grounds, such as the shallow, sheltered waters of Maui County.

Humpback whales are some of the most inquisitive of whales, a feature that made them popular for whale-watching tours. Their tendency to approach boats resulted in their numbers dropping massively during whaling days.

Humpback whale social sounds include snoring, coughing, squeaking, rumbling, and trumpeting, which can be heard above and below the water. We’ve been out kayaking and heard them very clearly without being under. Though, if you’re at a calm beach, you can hear them perfectly if you swim down 10-15 feet from almost any Maui beach during whale seasons.  This is a great activity to add on your upcoming Maui itinerary.

Humpback whales