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Places to watch whale’s breach on your e-bike ride

a whale swimming under water

One of the best parts of winter in Maui is the return of koloha, or humpback whales! West Maui offers spectacular views of the Auau Channel, a humpback breeding ground that’s nestled between the islands of Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokai. From December until May, residents and visitors can catch these gentle giants slapping their tails, blowing spouts from their blowholes, and sometimes even breaching from the sea! Best part is? You don’t need to have a boat to observe these magical creatures. You can see them from the shore along your electric bike ride! Simply pull over, put your kickstand down, and scan the horizon.

a whale swimming under water


North Pacific Humpback whales feed in Alaska during the summer then travel over 3500 miles to Hawaii and other southern regions to mate and give birth in more shallow, warmer waters. They can complete this long journey in as little as 28 days! These massive creatures can grow as long as 60ft, as wide as 18ft, and can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. They live 80 – 90 years old.
When the commercial whaling industry reduced the humpback’s population by an estimated 95%, the species was listed as protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. The kohola has slowly made a recovery, and we’re fortunate to be able to witness their comeback here in Hawaii year over year.


The whole West Maui coast serves as a hotbed for whale sightings in the winter-time. If you don’t already have an e-bike, you should consider renting one or booking a self-guided tour before venturing to one of these popular spots:

  • Lahaina Harbor – once the center of the whaling industry, Lahaina Harbor is the main spot to go for Whale Watching. You may even want to look for an oceanfront restaurant and grab a cocktail while you scan the sea. Check out our Lahaina bike route for other recommendations during your ride to Lahaina!
  • Kaanapali – Head down to Black Rock Beach and keep your eyes open. Here are more fun things to do on your adventure to Kaanapali!
  • Kapalua – D.T Fleming Beach is another ideal place to catch a glimpse of a kohola. You may want to take a stroll along the Kapalua Coastal Walk and scan the horizon. While you’re in Kapalua, here are some of our favorite sites to see, things to do, and places to eat!
  • Beyond Lahaina – The stretch of route 30 between Lahaina and Maalae is a prime spot for whale watching. Here are some other things to do on your ride past Lahaina.


  • You’ll have better luck spotting a whale in calmer waters when it’s easier to catch a disturbance in the water. Waters are generally most calm in the early morning. But, if you’re looking to get good photos, the golden hour during the late afternoon is an ideal time to go.
  • Another trick is to look for Whale Watching tour boats. If you see a boat sitting still, chances are they spotted a whale and are waiting for it to re-emerge.
    Baby calves are generally born after January, so if
  • Keep your eyes AND ears open. Sometimes, you’ll be able to hear the “blow” – the spurt of water seen when a whale comes up for air – before you see it.
  • Once you see the tail it means the whale is descending into the water. Since they can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes, you may not see it for a while.