Hawaii’s most impressive visitors—45-foot humpback whales—return to the islands’ warm waters, including those on the Big Island’s Kona side, every winter. Capt. Dan McSweeney, who founded the Wild Whale Research Foundation in 1979, works daily with the whales and has no problem finding them. During the 3-hour whale-watching tours, offered twice daily in late December through April, he drops a hydrophone (an underwater microphone) into the water so you can listen to their songs, and sometimes uses an underwater video camera to show you what’s going on. Cruises are aboard the Lady Ann, which has restrooms and a choice of sunny or shaded decks; cold drinks and snacks are provided. Trips depart from Honokohau Harbor, where parking is free and typically easy.