East Hawaii News

Saturday is Final Day of 2014 Humpback Whale Count

March 26, 2014, 10:34 AM HST
* Updated March 26, 11:36 AM
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This Saturday will mark the third and final day of the 2014 whale count in Hawaiian waters.

The Sanctuary Whale Count offers the community a chance to monitor humpback whale counts from about 60 locations along the shores of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

A separate count is held by the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui.

Count organizers said the event has become not only a fun volunteer activity for residents and visitors, but it also helps to provide important population and distribution information on humpback whales around the Hawaiian islands.

The count is held each year from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on the last Saturday of January, February and March, which is peak whale season in Hawaii.

Volunteers are asked to arrive on site at least 30 minutes prior to the start time to receive orientation training.

Online registration for whale count volunteers is available here.

Registration will end at the close of business on Thursday.

As of this morning, there were still spots open for online registration at 18 of the 22 counting locations on the Big Island.

Those with “0” spots remaining included Punalu`u, Ho`okena, Laupahoehoe and Onekahakaha.

However, there are several possible reasons for that designation, including that online registration is not available for that site. Call 808-268-3087 or email [email protected] to find out if those sites are still available.

Locations with openings still listed as available this morning included Kaena Point on Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which had eight spots open.

A map showing the location of and directions to viewing sites is available here.

This map from the humpback whale count website shows the 22 sites. NOAA image.

This map from a NOAA website shows the 22 Big Island humpback whale count sites. NOAA image.

Preliminary data from the first two counts this year for the Big Island showed the number of whales sited every 15 minutes averaged four in January and six in February.

The 2013 whale count on the Big Island resulted in a 15-minute average of four in January, seven in February and three in March.

Data from counts dating back to 2007 are available here.

The whale count is organized by the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is jointly managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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