Humpback whales and dolphins, Hawaii
© drewsulockcreations/Getty Image
Wishing you a whale of a World Whale Day. World Whale Day
As surely as some tourists return to Hawaii each and every year, thousands of humpback whale families, like the one seen in this photo, make an annual winter visit to the waters off Maui. They're the reason behind today's cetacean celebration: World Whale Day. While the observance honors whales of all kinds in all the world's oceans, it was here in Maui that the Pacific Whale Foundation first held the event and timed it to match the yearly return of the humpbacks.
These whales belong to one of at least four populations of humpbacks that live in the North Pacific. This group spends winters breeding and resting up in Hawaii's warm waters before making a summer migration to their feeding grounds in the chilly depths off Alaska. If you visit Hawaii during February, you'll have one of the best opportunities anywhere to spot these majestic marine mammals—and as we see here, maybe you'll spot a few dolphins too!