Kauai whalewatching question
December 10, 2009 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Kauai, December, south shore, whale watching tour question...

I'll be travelling to Kauai with family in a couple weeks and am wondering if anyone has had good results or recommendations for boat tour companies that leave from the south side of the island. I'm not really interested in a long sightseeing trip as much as a more focussed trip to see wildlife, mostly so my girls can see what's out there without a long day. Surprisingly, the Kauai bible (Ultimate Kauai Guidebook) says nothing about this beyond a discussion of north shore Na pali trips which aren't an option in the winter.

posted by docpops to Travel & Transportation around Kauai, HI (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a map of the Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary. While the whales can travel anywhere, most of the mothers and calves will be in the shallower waters off Maui, Moloka`i, West Hawai`i, and O`ahu. It looks like they've identified north shore Kaua`i waters as whale area, but the waves can be pretty big there.

Short answer: There probably aren't any whale tours that are worth a dime out of the south shore of Kaua`i.
posted by kanewai at 5:30 PM on December 10, 2009

Best answer: We spent 17 nights in Kauai in April 2008 on a conference at Poipu on the south coast. We (me late 30ish & my teenage daughter) were totally blissed out the the whole time we were there and would do anythign to return there & never come home.

While we were there we did 2 boat trips, one morning & one afternoon, and we had incredible whale experiences both times. It really was amazing. We also saw DOZENS of dolphins right up close, turtles, seals, all varieties of fishies....

I have no idea how old your girls are...that might make a difference, attrention wise. My girl was 14 & pretty laid back happy to observe everything. Th crew on the boats are awesome, so friendly and laid back & they will provide entertinment & engagement to keep people amused, especially kids. The crew are fantastic.

I don't think you can really predict where & when the whales will appear, but there are patterns they follow. Once a whale is in a certain distance, the boat operators, by law, must shut off their engines til the whale moves away. If the whale comes closer, BONUS!!! but it's up to the whale. We saw whales, dozens of dophins, seals, turtles....

Maybe the North shore is awesome, but there is plenty of awesome on the south shore. The south shore trips go to Na Pali also.

I think the best trip we went on was with Blue Dolphin, but I'd have to rummage thru my receipts to comfirm.

"There probably aren't any whale tours that are worth a dime out of the south shore of Kaua`i.

I dunno, i'm not an expert whale tourist but I really have issue with this comment. Our whale experiences on the south shore of Kauai were brilliant. We weren't specifically lookign for whales, but we saw humpbacks on each trip, DOZENS of doplins, turtles, seals & all manner of fishies.
My daughter was 14 at the time & she still thinks of it as the best time of her life. I just mentioned this thread to her & she said if she had a MeFi account of her own she would log in & tell you how she felt - i just asked her for a quote & she mumbled something about it being so much more amazing than she had imagined.

Feel free to me memail me if you want some first hand experiences of a young teen in Kauai.
posted by goshling at 3:49 AM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, 3/4 of the island has a ring road, which you can drive around in about 2.5 hours. I thout I'd get by without a a car, but after a few days I realised I NEEDED a car. If you've got a car on Kauai, everything is easy enough to get to.
posted by goshling at 3:54 AM on December 12, 2009

Response by poster: Goshling -

Thanks. That helps tremendously. I dug a little deeper and found a tour operator that runs Zodiacs off the south shore for 2-3 hour trips in late afternoon which seems ideal (less sun, shorter time at sea, etc.). Our girls are 6 and 9 and mesmerized by anything nature/animal. Just the zodiac ride will be a thrill. We've been to Kauai several times but now that we have the kids, the south shore and larger hotel/pool paradigm is more our thing as opposed to the quiet bungalow for 2 in Anini. And I hear you on the road. Distances are deceptive. I agree as far as the wildlife. My recall of our previous trips is that there was a lot of wildlife in general, especially to a kid from the suburbs that thought deer were exotic. I suppose I was just looking to hear good directives as well as any warnings or cautionary tales that might get passed along from MeFites experiences in the last years since we travelled there.

Thanks again.
posted by docpops at 7:17 AM on December 12, 2009

Oh wow. I wrote the above posts when I was feeling really tired. As it turned out I was coming down with "teh sick" & developing a fever & enormous lymph nodes. I was clearly sicker than I'd realised that evening, as evidenced by my barely coherent comments above. How embarrassment.

Anyway, the Zodiac trip sounds particularly exciting! I looked at the Blue Dolphin website & it seems they do evening whale tours of 2-3 hours duration also, so I guess the whales are more predictable in the evenings?

My daughter & I were even entranced by the chickens. We were there in April and there were baby chicks everywhere which was even cuter. My daughter is one of those people that will try to pat anything remotley fluffy so she would try to approach them & pat them.

I bought us both underwater cameras which were fantastic for grabbing pics of all the snorkelling with the fishies we did.

*sigh* We love Kauai so much, wish we were going! I'm sure your daughters will fall in love with Kauai like my daughter & I did.
posted by goshling at 5:22 PM on December 23, 2009

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