(Blue Ocean Network – October 9, 2013) — Maui, Hawaii – On October 5, 2013 an adult humpback whale did a “beautiful” fluke up dive in front of excited crew and passengers on Pacific Whale Foundation’s vessel Ocean Voyager at 7:36 am. This is Pacific Whale Foundation’s first verified humpback whale sighting of the season off Maui.
“This first sighting is right on schedule,” commented Greg Kaufman, founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation. “Last year’s first sighting took place on October 15 and coincidentally was also by Ocean Voyager during a Molokini snorkel cruise.”
At Least 12,000 Humpbacks Vacation in Hawaii Annually
Kaufman reports that the migrating whales do not arrive all at once. They begin to appear off Maui’s coasts in autumn, and increase in numbers through November and December. Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from their northern summer feeding area that extends from Northern California to the Bering Sea. The whales migrate to Hawai’i to mate, give birth and care for their young. At least 12,000 humpback whales are believed to migrate to Hawaii each winter.
Ocean Voyager’s Captain Gabriel Wilson reported that the humpback whale was sighted about two miles from Molokini towards Wailea heading north in the direction of Ma’alaea Bay. “I was the first to spot a single blow on our way out on the port side,” Captain Wilson reported. “I couldn’t believe it, so I headed in that direction.” “We got about 300 yards from the whale’s location and watched it blow a few times, and then do a fluke up dive,” Wilson said that the crew did not get any photos but some of the passengers did.
Wildlife Watching and Ecotourism in Hawaii
Since 1980, Pacific Whale Foundation has pioneered educational wildlife watching and ecotourism in Hawaii through award-winning ocean eco-adventures. More than 3.5 million people from around the world have learned about ocean wildlife and marine conservation through these tours. Worldwide, PWF tours serve as a model for sustainable ecotourism practices. In addition to snorkeling and marine life viewing cruises.
Volunteering on Vacation
Pacific Whale Foundation also offers many outdoor volunteering opportunities through its Volunteering on Vacation program. Through this program, PWF works in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, the National Parks Service and community groups to offer visitors a calendar of volunteer opportunities that contribute to efforts to protect Maui’s environment. Volunteer for three or more hours and receive a free Volunteering on Vacation Maui tote bag. To learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation visit PWF, visit Volunteering on Vacation.
Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction. A pioneer in non-invasive whale research, Pacific Whale Foundation was also an early leader in educating the public, from a scientific perspective, about whales and the need for ocean conservation. Today, Pacific Whale Foundation has approximately 150 employees, including researchers, marine educators and conservation advocates. Its mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. It is an international organization, with ongoing research studies in Hawaii, Australia, and Ecuador, and are active participants in global efforts to address threats to whales and other marine life. For more information visit the PWF website.