More than 800 volunteers gathered data from the shores of Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island during the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count on Jan. 26.
The count is a yearly census that provides snapshot data on humpback whales. Participants tally humpback whale sightings. A total of 267 whales were seen during the 11:30-11:45 a.m. time period, the most of any time period throughout the day’s count.
Weather conditions and sea states were ideal for viewing humpback whales, but vog made seeing whales at a distance difficult. Preliminary data detailing whale sightings by site location is available at http://www.sanctuaryoceancount.org/resources/.
Two more counts are scheduled to take place on Feb. 23 and March 30.
For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit sanctuaryoceancount.org or hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov, or call 1-888-55-WHALE, ext. 253.
The sanctuary, which is administered by a partnership of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, protects humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters where they migrate each winter to mate, calve, and nurse their young.