A Whale of a Good Time

My husband, son and I went to Hawaii for a much deserved family vacation. The weather was warm and sunny with palm trees swaying is the soft tropical breeze. The clear turquoise waters were big but slowly rolling onto the beach where we were sitting. Getting a little bored our son asked “So mom, what’s next? Lets go do something fun!”.

Deciding what to do that would keep him busy for a couple of hours we decided to take a snorkeling excursion to Lanai from Lahaina. Loading up we noticed it wasn’t a boat we were on but a large motorized raft. Okay, that might be a little more fun and different. We didn’t think about it but while on the beach the waves were breaking pretty big. So, when we left the harbor we were plowing over 6-7 foot swells! OMG, that was crazy but kind of fun! It took about 5 or so minutes to get past the big swells and once out in the ocean it calmed down a bit.

We noticed another larger boat about 200 feet away with everyone off to one side staring at us. We thought they were just being friendly so we all waved back at them. Suddenly about 25 feet from our raft a huge whale jumped up out of the water and splashed back down into the sea on her side. That was amazing! You could actually see the water running off her face as she flew straight up. What a great start to our trip and my son was ecstatic.

A whale coming up from feeding in the ocean with his mouth open

Okay, we took this pic of a whale in Alaska but its all we had!

We made our way to Lanai towards an old ship wreck on the rocks. We dropped anchor there and set out to do some snorkeling. Getting our gear on we were off to see some pretty tropical fish. We didn’t have a snorkel guide but got to explore on our own which was perfect for us.

Swimming a little closer to shore we noticed a large sea turtle so we followed him aways. They are not very fast swimmers. The water was so crystal clear from the top you could see colorful, almost fluorescent sea anemones below. Enjoying our time together one of us was pointing out something new every couple of minutes. It was fun until I saw a huge mean looking jellyfish! At that point I thought where there was one, more were on the way and headed quickly back to the raft. On the other hand my husband and son thought they were cool and decided to stay.

Getting back to the raft I was telling everyone about the things we saw when all of a sudden there was another humpback whale floating past us on her side. Her fin was up as if to say hi. It didn’t take very long to notice she was a little hussy. Instead her fin lifted up to say “You-hoo boys, here I am!”. Next thing we knew two bull whales were entwined, completely wrapped around each other fighting to the finish. They were heading straight for us! Some people were screaming “We’re going to die!” Others were ready to dive off the boat to save themselves. Not me I wanted to see how the brawl was going to turn out. How many people get to see something like this firsthand?

Fighting fiercely, their fins were wrapped tightly around each other, twirling and biting viciously when all of a sudden they stopped! One moved towards the pretty lady in waiting but the other was still coming straight at us. Hey, I had my bathing suit on, I was good just in case I had to jump ship.

Whale with his mouth wide open coming up out of the ocean.

Can you believe how wide open this whale can open his mouth? I didn’t know they could do that! Or think he read this story and he’s laughing?

Abruptly the whale breached and dove directly in front of us. Watching that incredibly powerful movement of this beautiful mammal was brilliant! Diving he was just a few feet beneath us. You could see his fins on either side of us and ended with a jump out of the water for good measure once past. That was awesome! We were all squealing like women, but I am one so its okay.

I couldn’t wait for my husband and son to come back to tell them about what had just happened. And a quick prayer that the whale didn’t run them down in the meantime. When they finally came back I asked if they had seen the whale. They asked “Whale? What whale?” So I told them about what happened. My husband said “Sheesh! I heard the whale song underwater, I didn’t even think about one actually being that close!”.

Oh well, I got to see them and that’s all that matters! It was a whale of a good time.


  1. That was great! Gave me a god laugh for the day.

  2. I am beyond jealous! I went to Hawaii 2 years ago and tried hard to find whales and sea turtles and didn’t see either. We were on the island of Oahu. Which island was it? Maui? Was it in the winter? We were on Oahu in December and didn’t see a thing. I really, really want to see whales and sea turtles. Glad you got to see both!

    • We were on Maui and took the boat to Molokai in February. I used to live on Oahu and only saw whales a couple times north of Makaha. Maui is the best place to see them from Dec to March but Feb is the best month. Maybe you can make it there again during whale season, the kids would love it! I should look through some of our old photo’s when we captured one come shooting straight up out of the water. We were so close you could see the water running down his face! It was very powerful.

      • I have wanted to return to Hawaii ever since we went. My husband and son have had other ideas! I want to go to Maui during peak whale season for that reason. It would thrill me beyond description. I have homeschooled my son his whole life and when he was 5 he was very interested in ocean life and we studied and watched a lot of Discover and Animal Planet shows on sea life. We ordered and watch a great series called Blue Planet by the BBC. I really am still so interested but he isn’t so much for several years. I think if he or my husband were able to see whales or turtles though they would be excited. You were lucky to live in Hawaii! Thanks for sharing.

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