This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. These were taken just a few minutes after yesterday’s photos. It might well be the same whale, but here, it had moved along far enough that I was no longer shooting straight into the sun. The blue of the ocean comes out and my eyes also had a chance to recover!
Last weekend was the third and final of this year’s Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales. Each year, counts are conducted between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on the final Saturday of January, February, and March. These months are the height of whale season in Hawaii, though whales can be seen here from November through April. The counts happen on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi and are coordinated with similar events on Maui. Volunteers gather at sites around the islands to watch for whales and count their numbers and activities. This information is used to help researchers track how many whales come to Hawaii to calve and mate. Over the last few years, numbers have been in decline, but it’s not clear whether that’s due to drop in the whale population or a change in their migration patterns.
Volunteers for the counts are mostly local people, but more visitors are taking the opportunity to get involved while they’re here. This year, because of Covid restrictions, only site leaders took part in the count, but that will hopefully not be the case next year. I’ve done several of these counts and it’s fun to set aside the time to sit and watch the humpbacks. Sometimes they just cruise by, but often they splash and leap out of the water, putting on a show that’s wonderful to watch.
For more information about NOAA’s Sanctuary Ocean Count, go to https://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/involved/ocean-count.html.
Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Volunteering.’ See more responses here.