The Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Explorer vessel reported spotting its first whale sighting of the season with assistance from Maui Diamond this morning, Oct. 8, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.
The sighting occurred 2.4 miles North of Molokini heading towards Māʻalaea Harbor. The spotting was made by PWF Captain Aaron Bement who captured the attached footage (see below).
“This is why we do this,” remarked the Captain, “you never know what you’ll see on any given day. Once day, it’s the endangered false killer whales that our Research team is studying, the next spinner dolphins, and today our first humpback whale sighting.”
The sighting was made during Pacific Whale Foundation’s Molokini Wild Side Snorkel. As a comparison, the PWF reports that last year’s first sighting was near Honlolua Bay at 4:44 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2017.
“Seeing the first whale is always a good sign for us,” said PacWhale Eco-Adventure Captain and today’s crew-member Courtney Cox, “It means that last season was successful for the them, and hopefully we’ll get to see some calves soon. We’re lucky that we were one of the first to spot them.”
At least 12,000 humpback whales are believed to migrate to Hawaiʻi each winter, with their rate increasing at 7% per year. They travel from their northern summer feeding area that extends from Northern California to the Bering Sea, arriving in Hawaiʻi to mate, give birth and care for their young calves.
Humpback whales are protected by federal and state regulations, which prohibit vessels and other water-users from approaching humpback whales within 100 yards.
More information on responsible whalewatching is available through Pacific Whale Foundation ‘s Be Whale Aware guidelines.
Owned 100% by Pacific Whale Foundation, PacWhale Eco-Adventures offers ocean eco-tours, including snorkel trips, sunset dinner and cocktail cruises, stargazing excursions, and Maui’s original and most award-winning whale watch. As a social enterprise PacWhale Eco-Adventures is a for-profit business that sells eco-cruises and eco-conscious retail items in order to help fund the mission work of its parent nonprofit organization, Pacific Whale Foundation – with additional funds raised through memberships, donations, charitable grants and in-kind services.
“By providing a platform of opportunity through our marine cruises as advocates for not only whales, but all marine life and their environment, we hope to inspire all to change the way we live and operate; to ensure that our keiki, and theirs, get to have greater opportunities to enjoy our environment through increased awareness of how we affect our planet,” said Acting Executive Director Kristie Wrigglesworth.
PacWhale Eco-Adventures officially kicks off whale watching season on November 10 with Welcome Home the Whales, a specialty cruise out of Lahaina Harbor. Members of PWF’s Research team will also be on board to offer their whale expertise and expectations for the coming season.
Dates of past first-whale sightings by the experts at Pacific Whale Foundation are as follows: Oct. 9, 2017; Oct. 20, 2016; Oct. 24, 2015; Oct. 14, 2014; Oct. 5, 2013; Oct. 15, 2012; Oct. 6, 2011; Oct. 20, 2010; Oct. 20, 2009; Oct. 8, 2008; Oct. 7, 2007; Oct. 11, 2006; Nov. 11, 2005; Oct. 23, 2004; Oct. 21, 2003; Nov. 3, 2002; Oct. 31, 2001; Sept. 16, 2000; Sept. 30, 1999; and Oct. 13, 1998.