During the winter months, usually from November to May, Hawai’i welcomes home thousands of humpback whales. These whales, also known as kohola, once began their lives here in the tropical waters of Hawai’i, and return every year to create new life. The journey is undertaken by around 10,000 humpback whales, which can be spotted just beyond the shores of the Hawaiian Islands.
The Hawaiian Islands are a safe haven for humpback whales. The waters are warm, predators limited, and aloha overflowing. The magic of life is created here. Humpback whales conceive, birth, and raise their young during the most vulnerable months of life in these waters. The significance of this relationship between humpback whales and Hawai’i was recognized by Ancient Hawaiians.
Whales are a part of the creation story and other Hawaiian legends. They are even considered aumakua, deified ancestors or family guardians, similar to sea turtles (honu), octopuses (he’e), and other animals. Whales are sacred; their bones and teeth symbolize strength and power, an indication of one’s status in ancient times. Petroglyphs depicting whales also exist on several islands.
When humpback whales aren’t frolicking in the waters of Hawai’i, Central America, or Asia, they are predominantly located in the Northern Pacific Ocean during the summer months. The water isn’t too cold and the food is abundant. This changes, however, as summer turns to winter and the once plentiful water becomes too cold and harsh. This is when it is time to make the over 3,000-mile journey to where their lives began.
You do not need to be Hawaiian or kamaʻāina, child of the land, to experience the intense connection with these majestic creatures. Witnessing humpback whales first-hand has the power to take anyone’s breath away. February is the best month for whale watching in Hawai’i and makes for one of the most amazing scenes. Island by Koa Nani’s unique whale jewelry will help you remember the moment forever.