Maui Wedding Planning Trip: People Watching Whales Watching People

Huh? What? People watching whales watching people? I know, it sounds a little confusing. But bare with me and I promise it will make perfect sense.

Our first full day on Maui we got up bright and early to go whale watching at sunrise. It wasn't officially whale season, but it was just about two weeks before and there are always plenty of whales already there at that time. Why did we choose to go so early in the morning you ask? Well, for a few reasons. 

First of all the light is said to be amazing at that time. Second, some say there are more whales at that time. Third, we were still on west Coast time. And last, but not least, there are way less people on the early morning boat trips. Not many ppl want to have to be at the dock at 5:45 am. And you know what? All of this was true. 

It was still dark when we arrived at the dock in Lahaina. Which made for the Banyan Tree on Front Street looking really spooky and amazing, at the same time. Good thing was that free parking was really easy to find at this time of day. Not always an easy task later in the day in Lahaina. Or any of the towns on Maui, for that matter. 

The Banyan Tree.
We checked in quickly with Pacific Whale Foundation and waited around for them to load us up on the boat, Discovery. There weren't too many people which was really nice for moving around the boat and made it easier to get pictures later on. We highly recommend doing the Sunrise Whalewatching Lahaina cruise, if you haven't already. 

Waiting for the boat. 

It's true, once the sun started to come up, the light was amazing. It gave everything this beautiful rose color. It was gorgeous seeing the sun come up over Haleakala Crater. Made us very excited to go to the crater when we are on Maui again for our Tiki Wedding Extravaganza in July. 

Haleakala Crater

Once we started moving out into the water, we pretty quickly started to see whales. We'd see little things like their backs or them blowing water into the air. Then we saw our first tail and a whale breech! 

Seeing a whale breech is pretty unbelievable. What power it takes for them to push themselves out of the water and throw themselves into the air. Have you ever tried just to jump up out of the water? Umm, it's so not easy! We actually saw more than three whales breech, but I was never able to get a picture of them. Always just the splash as they hit the water. 

First whale tail we spotted that day!

The sun finally broke over Haleakala.

This big guy just kept moving his tail back and worth like he was waving at us.

We were seeing tons of Humpbacks by this time and it was so awesome. But they were all pretty far from the boat. Especially since we weren't able to take the boat within 1000 yards of them. However, if they were to come to us, that would be alright. I just kept thinking for them to get closer to us. And you know what? They did!

Beautiful seeing two Humpbacks swim side by side!

What happened next, I still can't believe happened. The next day when I woke up I swore it was a dream. It was one of the most surreal experiences I've had in my life. If you think the above whales are close, you've seen nothing, yet!

A whale started getting closer and closer to our boat. In fact, she got so close, our boat was not able to start up or move. This was really not a problem though since the whale was right next to the boat! It kept swimming next to us and under us back and forth. The whale even turned over and swam on her back revealing that she was a female. 

Then she started poking her head up out of the water. Something whales don't do very often. Or at least not very often around humans. She would swim to one side of the boat, poke her head up, duck back under the water and swim to the other side of the boat. It was one of the most amazing things I've seen. 

Now the pictures we are about to show you were not taken with a zoom lens. At this time, we just had the regular lens on the camera. The reason these pictures are so up close is because she was really that close to us. If I had stuck my hand out, I would have touched her! But, of course, you aren't supposed to do that!

She kept just swimming back and forth and checking us out. She basically took out boat captive because we couldn't start the boat up with her so close. Not that we wanted to! We even ended up getting back to the dock late because of her being so close to the boat for so long. 

Amazing getting to see the underside of a Humpback whale!

Just under the water about to pop up!

She was right in front of my face! I couldn't believe it! I still can't!

she stuck her head up out of the water to people watch many times. 

Now that's a whale of a tail to tell others!

Honestly, I'm still not sure that this really happened. It's just not something that happens every day. I am so blessed to have gotten to share this experience with Drew and also for the whale to share herself with us. Unbelievable!

Stay tuned for the next installment of our wedding planning trip on Maui! See how we spent our day in Lahaina, what wedding items we checked off our to do list and what we did that night!

Have you ever had an animal encounter like this? Did it seem surreal after it happened?

All photos are personal photos.

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