If you plan on spending the day at Ka’anapali Beach or shopping at nearby Whaler’s Village, take some time to visit the Whaling Museum located on the second floor of the outdoor mall. It is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm and the price can’t be beat – free. Because the tour is self-guided, visitors can spend as much time in the museum as they like.
The life of Maui’s whalers fascinates me even today. The small town of Lahaina used to be the capital of the Hawaiian Islands centuries ago, when whalers poured into the port town after months at sea. Not Lahaina still recieves visitors by sea (via large cruise ships docked just off shore).
At the whaler’s museum you will discover special cutting tools, harpoons, blubber cook pots, and everything used by sailors during the 1860s. Also, visitors can see handmade scrimshaw items, examples of whale bone, ancient sailor games. A beautiful scale model of a whaling ship helps visitors picture what life at sea would have been like when in search of whales. Videos make the experience even more real.
To me, the most fascinating item is an actual log book kept by a whaling sailor. For small wages, sailors had to brave hardships, storms, and danger while covered head to foot in greasy, smelly whale oil.
While at Whaler’s Village, don’t miss the full-size whale skeleton located at the entrance to the shopping area.