Over the weekend you may have seen groups of people standing on the beaches of Maui staring out into the great blue. Now, this isn’t unusual, there are always lots of beautiful things to look at in the waters of Maui. You can see turtle’s bobbing heads in the waves, the sun setting over the horizon, spinner dolphins playing tag and every possible combo of human and board you can image(boogie, surf, windsurf and SUP to name a few). This past weekend volunteers had their eyes peeled looking for one thing in particular, Whales!
This weekend was the Pacific Whale Foundation’s Great Whale count. The Great Whale count is a citizens count of the Humpback whales that can be seen from the shores of Maui. Anyone can participate and the Pacific Whale Foundation offers free training materials. When you sign up you can pick a site that is convenient for you and will be led by a PWF staff member or site leader. In 2012, volunteers and researchers counted 1054 whales which was lower than the numbers recorded the two years prior. According to researchers it is normal to see some fluctuation from year to year and the general trend has been to see an increase year over year. This held true this year, with volunteers counting 1126 whales! Volunteers gathered in 12 different locations along the Maui coastline and experienced a variety of different conditions depending on the location. Some experienced high winds making it more challenging to see the whales through the high waves while others reported an easy stress-fee experience. Everyone agreed, regardless of the location, the event was a huge success.
Based on the data collected the Pacific Whale Foundation’s founder and Executive Director Greg Kaufman is predicting the peak of whale watching season is yet to come this year on Maui. Therefore, we should expect to see an increase of whale activity near to shore in the weeks to come! So keep your eyes turned to the sea because the best is yet to come.
Come see the whales for yourself. Reserve your time for next years whale season at:
Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization based on Maui dedicated to protecting whales and our oceans through science and advocacy. To learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation, please visit http://www.pacificwhale.org.