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Whale watching on a zodiac


bajae
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I'm looking at doing a whale watching tour when we stop at Maui in December. I just looked up what a zodiac boat was and find the idea of being on that small of a boat (raft) around whale scary. I know the boat will not get close enough to the whales but what if the whales come close enough to the boat to accidently knock it? 

 

Can some share about their experience? Thanks!

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We have done a over a dozen whale watches at Maui in a RHIB...what you are calling a zodiac. We have been very close to whales...the whales can be very curious about the boats, and the whales are pretty comfortable around the boats...the mothers will bring their babies over to check out the boats, or hide underneath them from undesired male attention. But have never had a whale touch a boat.

 

I can tell you whales have very bad breath.

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9 hours ago, bajae said:

I just looked up what a zodiac boat was and find the idea of being on that small of a boat (raft) around whale scary. I know the boat will not get close enough to the whales but what if the whales come close enough to the boat to accidently knock it? 

 

Can some share about their experience? Thanks!

We do it a few times a year and only on a zodiac-- by far the best way to do it. The closeness to the water is the best part for us-- you dangle your feet over the side and put GoPros into the water etc. All things you cant do on some of the larger boats that do the whale watching tours. Just too many people for us.

 

The whales can get quite close but only by their own choice-- once a whale is spotted within a certain distance any vessel must stop their engines and drift until they pass. Sometimes the whales swim by and sometimes they can get very close as Bruce said. We've had whales get very close and go right under the raft but not touch the boat. They are very intelligent and aware of their surroundings-- you have nothing to worry about in terms of getting harmed by a whale in this scenario. They don't have any interest in colliding. Competitive pods, where the whales are a bit more boisterous, can usually be spotted at a distance and a captain would not put the raft in the middle of that. 

 

All this being said our favorite operator, Captain Steve's, lost both of his rafts in the fire. I haven't been back so haven't checked to see if they have plans on restarting their business. There were a lot of boats lost in the Lahaina fire. I would check and double check that any options you are looking at are actually operating as most of the good whale watching was out of Lahaina. 

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38 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

We do it a few times a year and only on a zodiac-- by far the best way to do it. The closeness to the water is the best part for us-- you dangle your feet over the side and put GoPros into the water etc. All things you cant do on some of the larger boats that do the whale watching tours. Just too many people for us.

 

The whales can get quite close but only by their own choice-- once a whale is spotted within a certain distance any vessel must stop their engines and drift until they pass. Sometimes the whales swim by and sometimes they can get very close as Bruce said. We've had whales get very close and go right under the raft but not touch the boat. They are very intelligent and aware of their surroundings-- you have nothing to worry about in terms of getting harmed by a whale in this scenario. They don't have any interest in colliding. Competitive pods, where the whales are a bit more boisterous, can usually be spotted at a distance and a captain would not put the raft in the middle of that. 

 

All this being said our favorite operator, Captain Steve's, lost both of his rafts in the fire. I haven't been back so haven't checked to see if they have plans on restarting their business. There were a lot of boats lost in the Lahaina fire. I would check and double check that any options you are looking at are actually operating as most of the good whale watching was out of Lahaina. 

We will be stopping in Kahului and I'm looking at an excursion from the ship so I don't know who they work with. We will actually be there Dec. 25, 2024 and since it is Xmas day, I feel like our options may be limited so I've reserved this excursion to make sure we have something. Thank you for your information it helped a lot. I'm more excited now than fearful. 

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5 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

We have done a over a dozen whale watches at Maui in a RHIB...what you are calling a zodiac. We have been very close to whales...the whales can be very curious about the boats, and the whales are pretty comfortable around the boats...the mothers will bring their babies over to check out the boats, or hide underneath them from undesired male attention. But have never had a whale touch a boat.

 

I can tell you whales have very bad breath.

Thank you. That sounds wonderful, bad smells and all. 

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2 minutes ago, bajae said:

We will be stopping in Kahului and I'm looking at an excursion from the ship so I don't know who they work with. We will actually be there Dec. 25, 2024 and since it is Xmas day, I feel like our options may be limited so I've reserved this excursion to make sure we have something.

Most likely a smart idea-- Ubers/taxis etc will also be limited on Christmas Day. Hopefully they bus you to the other side-- the whale watching off Kahului on that side of the island isn't nearly as good as it is in Lahaina Roads-- the area between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. If I had to guess, with Lahaina not an option, you will be going out of Maalea. 

 

6 minutes ago, bajae said:

I'm more excited now than fearful. 

Enjoy it-- being on a zodiac for a whale watch off Maui is one of Hawaiis great experiences. 

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On 11/22/2023 at 9:35 AM, princeton123211 said:

Enjoy it-- being on a zodiac for a whale watch off Maui is one of Hawaiis great experiences. 

 

Amen to that. There are going to be a lot of lonely whales in Lahaina Roads this winter wondering where all their friends went.

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