I’m delighted to share more photos from our recent family time on Kauai, geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands. Did you notice how I just slipped in one more little island fact? Prior to our travel I had very little time to do the background research I enjoy. I have learned so much more since our return home that I hope I might have another chance to visit Kauai.
While the majority of the time was spent enjoying the beauty and leisure of Hanalei Bay, we did arrange for a few island adventures. This year’s whale migration has been very observable even from our Southern California perch. In December and January of this year a record number of sightings were recorded off the coast of Long Beach. Orcas, Humpbacks, Sperm Whales and even Fin Whales were spotted in record number. Speculation is that global climate change could be bringing more food to the area.
Humpback Whales leave Alaska in the fall and swim for six to eight weeks before reaching the Hawaiian Islands for their winter breeding. Congress recognized the important Hawaiian habitat (1992) as critical in protecting the breeding grounds of this endangered species, and we were excited to share this experience as a family.
As we pulled into the parking lot of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor on the east side of Kauai, I casually snapped this picture and posted to Facebook something about hoping our sea-worthy vessel was larger than these.
My previous whale watching experiences were on vessels between 70 and 80 feet, and even in those large boats the roll, pitch and yaw sent nearly everyone to the rails at least once!
When you think of the vast Pacific Ocean, this does look small, doesn’t it?
I swallowed my concern as we boarded the “UFO,” a 28-foot Coast Guard certified power catamaran, very hopeful that we’d have success.
And off we went.
Our Captain, Steven, and First Mate, Tyler, informed us that the waves were a little rough, but I already knew this by the sound of several of our “team” desperately hugging the rails!
In this instance I think distraction kept me from feeling ill. I was deeply focused on the three, five and seven year-old who were handling the bounce-over-the waves better than many of the adults, but I did have a thought that perhaps we should be sitting on them to guarantee they weren’t jettisoned.
And then I saw a humpback whale breach, launching out of the water in the most spectacular display, and it wasn’t long before we were surrounded by the most glorious whale activity.
The photos aren’t wonderful, but the experience was thrilling! I was so happy that the children were enjoying this exceptional experience. We have spent many happy days at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific , and it’s always a challenge to pry Sophia and Karina away from the interactive station dedicated to whale song.
The Aquarium places great emphasis on teaching children (and adults) about these magnificent mammals, and I was thrilled to think they could see them in their natural habitat. What an opportunity.
After about 90 minutes of exploration we headed in a different direction to have some lunch and perhaps take a swim.
The movie “The Descendants” was filmed on Kauai and our guides informed us that this cove and stretch of shoreline are easily recognized, however, it is private land and we were not permitted to go ashore.
I’d love to share more photos from this beautiful spot, except I don’t actually have any.
Although I managed the “high seas” without significant trouble, as soon as we entered the cove and the little boat started the gentlest of rocking, I, and the others who had yet to fall, made a mad dash to the rails! No lunch for us!
Perhaps if we’d followed advice to take our “seasickness remedies” the night before, we’d have been a bit more prepared. But queasy stomachs were a small disadvantage in light of being so close to the magnificent whales.
I would definitely recommend Na Pali Coast Hanalei Tours for any group eager for a day’s ocean adventure. Steven and Tyler were very eager to show us a good time, and were very kind to those who didn’t feel well.
Have you been whale watching? Do you do well on the “high seas?” I’d love to know if whale watching is something you’d like to do!