The Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit research group that is also one of the primary boat tour operators on the island. They have several whalewatching trips a day, some leaving from Lahaina, and some leaving from Maalaea. Our morning trip was 2 hours long, and cost $35 each with the AAA discount. The boat is one of the largest we saw – a big 65′ boat. It was very stable. It had a capacity of 130ish, and there was still some space on the trip we took. We took
our cruise at the end of December, a few weeks after whale watching season begins. We saw many whales – at one point we had a couple swam up very close to the boat – including a couple of males competing for a nearby female. They were headbutting each other as they breached, slapping their fins against the water, and generally putting on a great show for us. We even saw them right under the water beside the boat. The captain was very respectful of the whales, always giving them space and letting them approach us instead of chasing them. We’ve gone whalewatching many times, in many places, and this was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had.