Kona whales

Kona Whale Watching

One great way to get out on the open water in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is to take a whale watching tour via Body Glove Tours (yup same name as my water walking shoes, never did get the connection). The tours leave from the Kailua-Kona Pier in town. You park at the Body Glove offices and walk two full city blocks down to the pier. Book online and then get to their office early, the shopping mall the office is in has limited spaces. You are looking for the Kuakini Ilima Court Shopping Center at 75-5629 Kuakini Highway (entrance to Body Glove is just before light at intersection). This is at the intersection of Palani Rd. coming off the major highways. You check in at the office and then again on the pier there is a booth to check-in with. Next, stay left on the pier, the Body Glove boat docks just past the fenced area.

Of course, they cannot guarantee you will see Humpback whales, even in season, so think of it as a 3-hour tour with possible benefits (but not as much adventure as Gilligan’s Island–ha ha). I was there in mid-January and the whale pods were everywhere. FYI. You can see the whales spouting from shore and then breaching (rolling) and often with their signature flip of the tail.

The fun of going on a whale watch tour is that you get much closer than on dry land and with a good camera you can catch the tail display. And while the whales might be elusive you are almost guarantee to see Spinner dolphins who glide along the boat’s hull and often back up on their tails like “Flipper” from the mid-1960s TV show. And often you will see bottle nose dolphins as well. You can also catch flying fish schools and the occasional ray sighting.

Our expedition was lucky enough to see several Humpback pods. It was encouraging to see so many returning to Hawaii to spawn. After fertilization from the bull male, the female cow carries the singleton whale for about a full year. And then gives a live birth and also nurses the calf for up to a year. The calf is born swimming. And though they are weak they swim behind their mother’s “slipstream” to keep up. These gentle giants swim in pods. So if you see one spout, there will likely be 5 or 6 more in succession.

I got there early enough to snag the upper-level front row seats on the 65-foot catamaran. The bench seats face backwards toward the stern…but I swung around facing the bow. From that vantage point I was able to see almost all of the sightings.

From the pier and once we cleared the low speed area for the small boats the engines fired up and we went toward the spouting (as in “Thar she blows”). Very happy to find out we were powered by twin Suzuki 350-HP engines and not just sails and oars. Always want a retreat planned in case the Gentle Giants defy their name.

The price was approximately $112 and no there is no senior discount. Why? Because the majority of people with money and time on their hands in the middle of the week are Baby Boomers. I’d guess it was 90% old fogies with sunblock, big hats and of course loud gawdy Hawaiian print shirts. I say the louder the better, in case you go overboard.

Sally Franz and her third husband live on the Olympic Peninsula. She has two daughters, a stepson, and three grandchildren. Sally is the author of several humor books including Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Menopauseo, and Wired Sal’s Parody Songs and Skits. To see Sally Franz perform these songs, go to her YouTube Channel. And check out her newest book, Wired Sal’s Parody Songs & Skits. YouTube address @SallyFranz: https://www.youtube.com/@SallyFranz


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