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8 places to see exotic marine animals on dry land

Jan. 29, 2014, 4:39 p.m.
humpback whale tail

Photo: Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

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Lahaina, Maui

No matter where you go in Hawaii, the ocean is nearby. Though the world's largest marine mammals don't actually come ashore, you can get a very clear view of them from the shoreline. It is estimated that some 8,000 humpback whales come to the calm waters on Maui's south and west coasts each year to breed. Near the west coast town of Lahaina, you can often view several whale groups at the same time.

With or without binoculars, people on shore can see these mammoth creatures surfacing to breathe, flashing their tail fin as they prepare to dive, and also breaching (jumping partially out of the water). If you go down to the water, you can sometimes put your head under the surface (with the aid of a snorkel) and listen to the songlike whale calls.