Hawaii Waterlife- Turtles, whales and dolphins oh my!

March 15, 2022
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*We’re going to have to start this article with a reader warning: the puns and word play may cause your eyes to roll. Feel free to use any and all to annoy your friends and loved ones (just make sure you credit us). 

Look, we know everyone vaycays in their own way and we fully support you, whether you’re huffing and puffing up the tallest mountain in the world, or getting pampered and tipsy by the pool. However your days are spent, we do have just one suggestion: don’t skip out on the turtle-y awesome wildlife. 

Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful and interesting animals on the planet, specifically the underwater wildlife. Pretty much all year you will be able to find honu (Hawaiian sea turtles), dolphins, and tons of colorful fish. During peak season (January to mid-March) you should be able to spot whales and if you’re lucky and know the right spots, you might be able to see a monk seal. We’ll break it down for ya.

A “honu” world. . .

Hawaiian sea turtles are one of the most beautiful native species on the islands, they range in size but can get up to 300 lbs! One of the best spots on island to find them is Honaunau, otherwise known as Two Step. This spot is a popular resting place for honu; you can find them basking on the rocks or even swimming near the shore if you feel like hopping in the water. 

Join a pod-y of dolphins (that one may have been a little bit of a stretch, but we did it on porpoise)

Spinner dolphins frequent the waters of Hawaii, sometimes numbering the hundreds. Boat companies specialize in finding the pods daily and are good at seeing them from a long way off. Most boat companies have a guarantee, so if you don’t see any you can reschedule your tour (book early in your trip).

If you feel like a solo adventure, you can also rent a kayak and paddle out yourself. This method can be a lot more difficult since the dolphins move quickly and kayaks. . .don’t, but the satisfaction and story for all your pals back home sure is cool. If you opt for the exhausting method, we suggest Kealakekua Bay in the very early morning. Companies rent kayaks from the bay and are usually pretty helpful in their directions.

There’s plenty of fish in the sea. . .

Speaking of. . .all the things we just spoke of, don’t forget about the fish, eels, manta rays and more that live on the reefs of the Big Island. We’ve already mentioned our two favorite snorkeling spots: Honaunau and Kealakekua. We’ve seen all kinds of marine life here and suggest reserving a whole day for the trips. Again, boat tours will take you to these spots but they’re also reachable by foot. Kealakekua is quite a hike or paddle to get to while Honaunua is basically a drive-up.

Whale, what’s left to talk about?

You think you’re used to the beauty of the islands, that nothing can wow you because you’re desensitized to paradise and then you see a humpback whale breaching less than a football field away from you. Humpback whales visit Hawaiian waters September through April, but peak season is usually January to March. With sharp eyes, most views of the ocean can catch sight of the whales from far away, but we strongly recommend booking through a tour company. Seeing a whale from the water is a delight that (so far) we find to be unparalleled.