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Maui Whales: As Seen From a Wheelchair


Disabled visitors can see whales during the season on land or a boat. It’s one of the natural wonders of the Hawaiian island in the winter time.For those of you in a chair, but wanting to come to Maui and go whale watching, your in luck.

Here’s the plan:

Come during whale season!! Although the season officially runs from November til April (or so), the BEST months are January, February, and early March. During this time, the whales are plentiful!!

If you want to go on a whale watch tour boat, be prepared for a bit of a hassle. Inquire directly with the boat companies how they can accommodate a person in a chair. DON’T ask a travel agent or an activity agent this question, as they will probably not know the answer. Go directly to the horse’s mouth and get the straight story from the boat people themselves. A little extra effort in this area can save a great deal of trouble later at the docks.

No boats, that I know of, have easy and true “roll on, roll off” capability. Different boat crews will handle transfers of chair bound clients differently.

If you don’t want to go through the problem of getting on and off a boat, don’t fret! During the busy times of whale season, you can see them from MANY land vantage points. The Pali lookout on the road to Lahaina is GREAT for whale watching. Many ocean front restaurants all along Maui’s shoreline offer fun whale viewing right out in front of the eatery. Many spots along the roads are available to just pull off, have a picnic lunch and enjoy watching as the whales pass by just offshore. Look for places with small beach parks or small side roads. Pulling off to the side on a busy road can be loud and frustrating with the traffic.

Although the whales can be seen all around the island, it’s usually easier to spot them along the South and West sides of the island especially if it’s a bit windy. The North and East sides of the island are often more rough during these months and that active ocean look can make it harder to spot the whales. However, no matter where you are, keep a look out going for them as they can pop up at any time!

Bring some binoculars with you. Yes, the adult whales are BIG but are often a bit further offshore than the naked eye can see well. Binoculars are a great way of getting the feel your right next to one of these majestic animals.

Have a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with you. It gets very bright here on Maui even in the winter time with strong UV sun rays. Warm and hot….even in February! But, after all, isn’t that’s one of the reasons you want to come to Maui in February?

A recent article in the Maui News announced we had over a thousand whales offshore of Maui one day in February (they count them every year). Make the effort to come see them and you won’t be disappointed….even from the seat of a wheelchair.


Paul Gammie

Manager and Owner of Gammie HomeCare.

Gammie HomeCare specializes in Home Medical Equipment needs for clients in Hawaii. In business since 1986.