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Educational and Unforgettable Whale Watching with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment

We attended as a guest of the Ritz-Carlton
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We have been whale watching a million times, but we have never experienced anything quite like we did while on the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment whale watching trip in Hawaii. We registered our family for the trip during our stay at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, but the trip is open to other visitors on the island to experience.


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We met our guide, Ali, at the on site building at the resort where our family was given a short educational talk about the whales we were going to be looking for out on the ocean, and what to expect during our trip. The guide then took our family to a private van where we were driven to Lahaina where we would board a boat for the excursion. Next, we boarded a light-weight zodiac boat along with only one other family that had allowed us to have an intimate experience without the large crowds found on other whale watching tours.

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The one thing that made this tour unique from any other tour was the guide. Our family not only enjoyed a beautiful day on the crystalline Maui waters, but the kids also got an in-depth educational experience. The guide talked to our children about the different whales in the ocean, the migration process, and detailed information about what the whales were doing when we spotted them in the water.

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Our first spotting of humpback whales was a competition pod. The whales were splashing and doing what looked like playing on the surface of the water, but the two males were actually competing for the female whale. We had to stay at least 100 yards away from the whales but if the whales feel comfortable enough to come closer to the boat than that is up to them…and that is exactly what they did. As our boat sat still floating on the water while watching the whales, they swam around together in circles around our boat.


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After they had taken a deep dive into the deep blue sea, we set out to find other whales, and this was about to be a life-changing experience for my family. As the boat began to get closer to another pod of whales, we saw what I never thought I would see in my life – whale breaching! Not only did we see the whales breaching but we saw a mother and baby do a double breach. Our kids screamed and squealed with delight while watching the whales fly out of the ocean. It was an experience that everyone in our family will never forget.

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Before our tour ended, the guide put a sonar device into the water, and our kids were able to listen to the whales sing to each other through a speaker. It was pure beauty listening to the whales communicate as what sounded like beautiful melodies.

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As our boat made its way back to the Lahaina harbor, the staff provided our family with light refreshments. We all laughed and talked about the incredible experience we had during our whale watching excursion. The guide drove our family back to The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua where we ended our afternoon swimming together in the resort pool. Later that afternoon we were emailed a link to complimentary keepsake images that the staff on the boat captured of our family during the afternoon.

Lahaina Harbor

The Whale watching excursion is seasonal from December 15th through April 15th before the whales make their way up to Alaska. It is priced at $99 per person with a minimum age requirement of 5. Reservations are available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1:30 to 4:30pm. If your family is visiting Maui during whale watching season, then I highly recommend making plans to go on the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment whale watching trip. During the off-season, there are other ocean excursion experiences offered through the resort.

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  1. 10 Reasons to Stay at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua | OC Mom Blog | OC Mom Blog - […] the Environment but families can also take tours through the program. They offer tide pool walks, whale watching, canoe…

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