A total of 1,054 humpback whale sightings were reported by more than 100 volunteers and researchers who counted whales from twelve shoreline lookout points on Maui on Saturday, February 25, 2012 during the 2012 Great Whale Count.
The Great Whale Count has taken place annually for 24 consecutive years – and is one of the world’s longest running cetacean projects involving citizen-scientists. The annual count is organized by Pacific Whale Foundation, a nonprofit research, education and conservation organization based on Maui.
If you are interested in where the best spot is to view these magnificent sea creatures, Pacific Whale Foundation naturalists and volunteers are stationed at three locations on various days of the week along Maui’s coast to help you locate whales from the shorelines.
They’ll share with you the best techniques for spotting these amazing marine mammals from Maui’s shorelines, have binoculars and scopes to help you get a better view, along with models and marine artifacts for hands-on exploration. You’ll also get answers to your questions about whales, geography and natural history. Free and open to all as part of Maui Whale Festival which runs from December 11, 2011 through April 30, 2012.
Following are the three locations with specified dates and times:
Offered daily from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Watch whales at this popular scenic overlook off Honoapi’ilani Highway (Route 30) located approximately 3 miles northwest of Ma’alaea Harbor.
Offered Tuesday and Thursdays from 7:30-11:30am
View whales along the Ocean Path in front of the Wailea Marriott, off Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea.
Maui Ocean Club
Offered Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30-11:30am
Marriot’s Maui Ocean Club, located on Kaanapali Beach, is the site of the “Trail of the Whale” Marine Naturalist Station on Maui’s westside. The station is located along the oceanfront pedestrian path fronting the resort.
An additional location to view whales is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, located at 726 S. Kihei Road, Kihei. Open Mondays through Fridays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Sanctuary staff and volunteers provide free information about humpback whales. Reservations not required. For information, call (808) 879-2818.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary also offers free information on sea turtles, coral reefs, fish and whales at the Grand Wailea Ocean Path, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Wednesdays. In addition, the Sanctuary will offer another free information site at the boardwalk at Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali on Thursdays, from 9 am to 1 pm. For information, call (808) 879-2818.
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